‘Govt Had Laid A Trap, Farmers Walked Into It’

Gurpreet Wasi, a volunteer at Singhu border protest site, recounts what happened a day ahead of the Tractor Rally and how the Machiavellian state led the farmers into a trap

I am an ordinary citizen of India. I have been on ground since the day farmers set up camps around Delhi in November 2020, as a Khalsa Aid volunteer. Lakhs of farmer camping in the bitter cold of Delhi is a humanitarian crisis. Getting up to help them was a natural reaction as well as a debt I owe to Punjab, the birthplace of my parents.

The Tractor March was a historic event, hitherto unseen in modern India. Around 2 lakh tractors, and 7-9 lakh famers, asserted their right to walk the national capital, mark the Republic Day, and renew our pledge to live by the Constitution of India. The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of 40 farmer unions, and police authorities had agreed upon a route and the parade was to begin around noon.

Wasi and her friends are in support of farmers protesting at Delhi borders

On the eve of the Parade, I went to Singhu border to distribute tricolor turban materials to make the march spectacular. My friends had helped me put together green, white and kesari turbans. I was there when a faction of people, who are not part of the Morcha, suddenly announced that they won’t follow the route decided between the authorities and the Morcha. Deep Sidhu, a known BJP mole, appeared on stage with the help of a group of Nihangs, with a provocative speech.

I returned a bit wrecked, a bulk of the turbans still in my car. I could not sleep a wink that night trying to estimate the impending danger of this adverse turn.

ALSO READ: ‘Red Fort Violence A Bid To Discredit Movement’

Deep Sidhu is a familiar name at the protest; farmers never trusted his intentions or his suddenly developed ‘Sikhi’. His affiliation with BJP was not hidden. Yet, over the months he had gathered a following of adrenalin-high youngsters.

I also received a message from a friend that a media insider had told her that ‘action would start early in the day’. True to her ‘insider tip’ a group of farmers (not part of Morcha) appeared on the borders at 8 AM as did empty DTC buses so that ‘public property’ could be damaged conveniently and captured on camera.

And before you know it, TV screens were awash with aggressive protesters entering the Red Fort. A religious flag (Nishan Sahib) was tied on a conveniently vacant pole to prove that the protesters are Khalistan supporters – a narrative this government has been trying to push from the beginning. The farmers had literally walked into a dangerous trap laid out for them.

The irony is that all 40 farmer unions started the Tractor Parade on the route agreed upon and at scheduled time. Along with a group of friends, I witnessed this peaceful parade for hours together. People of Delhi were showering flowers on them. But not a single TV channel covered this official tractor parade.

Social media anarchists had been in convulsions about the leniency of Delhi Police and Supreme Court in ‘allowing’ the parade. Now, we know that the soft gloves were hiding daggers underneath. The farmer’s historic parade went horribly wrong; they returned disappointed and bewildered, wondering if their 63 days of penance in Delhi was undone in a single masterstroke of the Machiavellian State.

There are questions that beg answers. Who gave access to Deep Sidhu into a fortress like Red Fort, that too on Republic Day? Who opened its locked Iron doors? Troops were seen falling off the walls of Red Fort like matchsticks. How did anyone so strategically place a camera on the adjacent side to catch the drama? Is this a Netflix soap?

Why were some tractors turned around at Nangloi and not allowed to move to Najafgarh as planned? Why did police barricade routes to Akshardam and Geeta Colony that had been approved for the parade? Was it to create confusion? Tell me who is the biggest beneficiary from this situation? You will have all the answers there.

Wasi (left) has a string of questions that point at a conspiracy

Do you think the farmers would throw away months of their sacrifice to a few moments of madness? How can it make sense to anyone but those who are without reason, without a shred of humanity? Don’t you see this is most dangerous conspiracy and machination to sabotage the Farmers’ protests?

This sordid dance of a failed democracy was amplified on the mouthpiece TV channels. I am sure all of us who stayed home watched it, some with glee and others with dismay and disgust.

Most of the farmers thought that most Indians were looking at their plight with sympathy and that India knows that they stayed non-violent. But at the end of the day when they returned to base, broken and badgered in body and spirit, ‘Dilli’ had painted them and the most generous community of India as goons and terrorists.

It’s a tragedy to witness simple, gullible farmers who travelled from faraway places like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab and Haryana who decorated their tractors to Delhi Roads to make their parade their voice, were made scapegoats on the altar of politics.

As told to Mamta Sharma

Ayodhya Nahin, Karz Maafi: Chant Farmers

Ayodhya nahi, karz maafi chahiye”. “Ab haq ke bina bhi kya jeena, yeh jeene ke samaan nahi (life has no meaning without rights),” sang one of the performers at the ‘Kisan Night’ organised to lift the spirits of the farmers on Thursday. Leaders of opposition parties as well as activists showed solidarity with the community. Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday called for a farm loan waiver, asserting that peasants are asking for what is due to them and not a “free gift”. The Congress supremo joined opposition leaders including AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, veteran politicians Sharad Yadav and Sitaram Yechury at Jantar Mantar, where the thousands of farmers gathered on Friday to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce. “The country has been divided between Ambani and Adani. But your farm loan waiver does not happen, you don’t get the right prices and hollow speeches are made,” Rahul said. He trained his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that if Rs 30,000 crore can be given to Anil Ambani, an apparent reference to the Rafale fighter jet deal, why can’t loans of farmers be waived off? Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal alleged that PM Modi has “stabbed farmers in the back” by not fulfilling the promises made to them and warned him that they would “wreak havoc” in the 2019 general elections if those promises are not kept. In his address at the venue, Kejriwal claimed that the Centre had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying it would not implement the MS Swaminathan Commission report. “The government had made a number of promises to farmers in the last election (2014), but it has not fulfilled those promises. By not implementing the Swaminathan Commission report, Modiji has stabbed the farmers in the back (‘kisano ke peeth mey chhura bhonka hai‘),” he alleged. He said the Union government should implement the report in five months. “The affidavit filed in the court should be withdrawn and the report should be implemented, otherwise, farmers would wreak havoc in 2019 elections (‘kisan agle election mey qayamat dhah denge‘),” he said. “The Fasal Beema Yojna is a fraud and is cheating farmers. The insurance companies withdraw money from farmers without their permission and thousands of crores have been withdrawn in this manner. When farmers lose their produce, these companies impose the condition that compensation would be given only if 70 per cent of the produce has been destroyed,” the AAP chief claimed. (PTI)]]>

#FarmersMarch: Activists haul up Centre

Farmers rise! @newssting1 cartoon #FarmersMarch pic.twitter.com/LGAoPiaDe8

— Satish Acharya (@satishacharya) November 30, 2018 They were stopped near Parliament Street police station, after which they assembled there. Over 3,500 police personnel have been deployed on the route of the march. According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts. Farmers have come to the national capital from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers arrived in the city on trains, buses and other modes of transport. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader S Sudhakar Reddy, AAP MP Sanjay Singh and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah also joined the protesting farmers in the heart of Delhi. Reddy, the national secretary of the CPI, alleged that the BJP dispensation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is most the “anti-farmer government”. “Modi government tried to pass the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill. But, as the opposition parties opposed it, the bill was not passed in the Rajya Sabha. If the BJP wins again then it will take steps to pass the controversial bill,” Reddy said. He alleged that the BJP government at the Centre has no wish to implement the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendation All farmers bodies across the country have been demanding implementation of the panel’s report. Yechury said, “This is the same police station (Parliament Street police station) where Bhagat Singh was taken into custody for throwing a bomb (in the Legislative Assembly).” “We have the power of votes, if the government does not change its stand, it will be overthrown,” he said, adding, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari the country is united and “we will remove Modi (in the next elections)”. Anjaan added that continuous neglect of farmers will “ensure Modi’s and the BJP’s downfall in 2019”. Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said the protest – Kisan Mukti March 2018 – to Delhi is a historic development as not only farmers across the nation have been assembled under one platform but also it has enjoyed supports from all section of society. TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi said, “Farmers of India stands before us. This is India’s movement. Mamataji (Banerjee) has sent you love. If you have a strong resolve you can achieve everything. There are talks about loan waiver but should the farmer even have to take loans.” He also said this gathering was the “real parliament” and called for a special session of Parliament. NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the condition of farmers in the country needs to be changed but the government is “not sympathetic” towards their plight. (PTI)]]>