A Protester Against Farm Laws

‘Farmers Have Won, But Vested Interests Want Protest To Go On’

Gurpreet Wasi, a protester against Farm Laws, says the groundswell against BJP in Uttar Pradesh ahead of elections scared Modi

It serves many people in many ways to keep the farmers’ protest alive. The last in line for anyone’s consideration is the small farmer. Drawing room activists say, ‘Farmers should not go back. They should continue protesting. Modi may be lying.’ My question is: How many of you, since January 2021, have shown the gall to visit the sites. All the selfies at the protest bandwagon disappeared after the Red Fort fiasco. It only serves their Left-leaning heart that these poor souls keep lying in the bitter cold so that they can say “Ohh! That monster Modi.”

The announcement of farm laws rollback came as a blessing. Everyone’s spirit was wearing out. They would ask: why doesn’t anyone care? It was harvest time, all the younger people had gone back to Punjab. It was very difficult to persuade people who had gone back to return to protest sites. Because they see nothing happening. There was no public support, the NGOs and langars were kind of waning.

The government started the whole vindictive thing of arresting people who were supporting the farmer protest, they started stopping the funding, punishing people who were the backbone of the protest etc.

And there was so much infighting. What I unfortunately was seeing was that how the movement was going to end, probably another few months and this year a very harsh winter is expected. So I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen.

ALSO READ: ‘Rollback For Political Reasons, Not Change Of Heart’

I think the Modi camp misread the situation, the kind of international backlash, the kind of bad PR and what is happening in Uttar Pradesh scared them. This move of withdrawing the laws is I think the suggestion of Capt Amarinder in Punjab. He is bitten by the rejection from Congress. He also knows that Punjab is very emotional about GuruPurab, especially Guru Nanak’s birthday is probably the most important day in all our lives so he knew how to swing the emotion for Modi.

It seems like it’s a Punjab farmers’ victory, in the sense that their honours have been restored. What have they not been called: from terrorists to anti-nationals to murderers…? So it is the restoration of honour for a Punjabi farmer.

But the real reason is the UP elections. There is a larger agenda in place with the BJP going all out (taking back the laws) to win upcoming elections. UP is very very important. The Lakhimpur incident turned the tide against BJP in UP. Although the media isn’t covering it but Tikait is going from village to village and panchayat after panchayat is telling villagers not to vote for BJP. The opposition too has put its forces unitedly behind farmers. I think that scared Modi.

But at the end of the day, innocent people who have been used by everybody including all political parties, for their political gain. For the small farmer sitting there, the older people – this exit is just necessary. They have made a point which I think is the biggest point made ever since Independence and I do not think anything else is needed. I think whatever they set out to do at that point is being driven home but now we must let them go.

As Told To Mamta Sharma

Attend Kisan Mahapanchayat

‘Mahapanchayat Has Revived The Farmers Movement’

Kuldeep Singh Khalsa, 32, who travelled from Tikri Border to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh to attend Kisan Mahapanchayat, says this is a do-or-die battle for protesting farmers

When we received the call to attend the Kisan Mahapanchayat at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh on September 5, we didn’t waste a single moment. We moved straight from Tikri Border (where we had been protesting till then) to the Mahapanchayat site. We were a group of 20 people who went to participate in the important Mahapanchayat and we lend our full support to the cause as well as the kisan leader Rakesh Tikait Saheb.

The place was full of protestors and not even a single patch of the ground at the protest site (Government Inter College Ground) was unoccupied. People kept pouring in with each passing hour. The Mahapanchayat was organised smoothly and there was no inconvenience to us for the days we were there.

Our spirits have been revived and attendance in such huge numbers has given the movement a fresh shot in the arm. It shows that the protest isn’t going to die down anytime soon until a concrete solution is offered by the government.

We have zero faith in the current government and the corporate entities it is seemingly supporting. If corporates get into farming, we will turn into gulams all over again. The very fabric of our country will be torn, for people without land are people without identities. The farmers don’t have the means or resources to fight these corporates. As individuals, farmers are powerless but collectively we can be a force to reckon with. Which is why such a huge number of farmers with landholdings big and small attended the Mahapanchayat.

Khalsa says corporates have little knowledge of farm procedures or crop cycles

Tikait Saheb has taken a vow that he will not enter his house until our demands are fully met. Such leadership gives us the motivation to carry on. It is this trust that was evident at the Mahapanchayat. The atmosphere was one of hope and faith that the tide would turn fully in our favour soon. There were farmers from various nooks and corners of the country at the meet, including female protesters. For, this time it is aar ya paar ki ladai (do-or-die battle).

It has been nearly one year since we started protesting and even though the ministers say that there have been multiple rounds of meeting with farmer leaders, those meetings had little substance. Forget MSP, even farm loan waivers haven’t been worked upon. The pandemic has already made our condition worse. If we don’t give this fight all we have, we could be at the mercy of such corporates who have no idea of farming procedures or crop cycles.

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This time it is not only the elders who are fighting, even children of farmers and other youngsters are taking extra initiative, be it then amplifying the cause through their social media handles or volunteering in any capacity.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has given a call for nationwide bandh on September 27 and we fully support it. Just how many voices will the government ignore? The government should show genuine interest to solve the problem otherwise elections are right down the corner. The vote speaks louder than words. In my opinion, forget six months (to the Assembly elections), if the jazba (spirit) is right and the cause just, then even one month is enough to take on the matter politically.