New Delhi, April 19, 2021: The deadlock between India’s protesting farmers and the government is showing no signs of ending as the state machinery has taken an adamant stand of not repealing the controversial farm laws.
The war has intensified with the farmers having made it clear that they are not going to end their movement until their demands of a rollback are with.
While the farmers’ planned march to the Parliament in early May is still undecided following a massive surge in Covid-19 infections, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha – an umbrella body of the protesting farmers – has made it clear if the government tries to forcefully evict the demonstrators from the protest sites at Delhi borders, then it must be ready to face fierce resistance.
“The government is trying to make the excuse of coronavirus pandemic to uproot the protesting farmers by scaring them and creating an atmosphere of fear through ‘Operation Clean’. But we have taken a firm stand and we will hit back with fierce resistance if such a thing happens,” said farmer leader Ashok Mittal.
“We started our movement during the pandemic. It has been five months since our protest started in Punjab. The central government is trying to scare us with the coronavirus. Fact is, the farmers’ movement has never been a hotbed of Covid-19. We do not have any cases here,” Ashok Mittal said.
“The government is continuously collecting fines from the public citing plenty of excuses, but the coronavirus will not go if you take fines from the public,” said Rajveer Singh Yadav, Secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union. “Workers and people from lower-income groups are the worst sufferers because of government plans to impose curfews and lockdowns. They couldn’t arrange enough hospitals, while big corporate hospitals are looting people like anything in these times of crisis.”
The Union Agriculture Minister and the Chief Minister of Haryana have earlier appealed for an end to the farmers’ protest in the wake of the pandemic’s resurgence this year.
Yogendra Yadav, Secretary of Jai Kisan Movement, said, “Last year, the government used the coronavirus to pass these black laws in the Parliament. This year, when the movement is in full swing, they are trying to stop it. But don’t you dare to do this. Farmers are ready to reply firmly. If you carry out ‘Operation Clean’, we will reply with ‘Operation Shakti’.”
From April 20-26, in a period being dubbed “Resistance Week”, all the protest sites surrounding Delhi will make strong arrangements to take protection from Covid-19.
“While the Prime Minister and the Home Minister themselves are claiming to have mobilised the largest crowds in the assembly election campaigns in the middle of the pandemic, the government has no moral right to advise the farmers about Covid-19,” said farmer leader Darshan Pal.
With the harvest season underway during March-April, many farmers went back home to proceed with harvesting, and so fewer farmers have lately been left at the protest sites.
The farmers leaders said on May 10, the morcha will hold a Rashtriya Sammelan (National Conference) in which all the farmer leaders across the country will join in a bid to strengthen the movement and draw more farmers to the protest sites.
The morcha has called on local farmer organisations across the country to march to Delhi borders to join the movement.
The farmer leaders on Monday interacted with the press at the Singhu border protest site. They claimed that Delhi police has arrested three people in connection with a conspiracy to kill farmers leaders.
“This shouldn’t have happened because it’s the government’s responsibility to give security to the farmer leaders,” the protest leaders said.
On April 24, the farmers’ movement will mark 150 days.