‘Trust PM on farm laws’ repeal, but won’t lift dharnas till all demands met’

Farmers across villages in Punjab are firm on backing the dharna at Delhi’s borders till other demands put forth by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha are not met.

Despite Prime Minister announcing that Centre will repeal the three agri laws, farmers across villages in Punjab are firm on backing the dharna at Delhi’s borders till other demands put forth by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha are not met.

The SKM is firm on six demands including legal guarantee of minimum support price for crops, withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill; withdrawal of cases against farmers; building of a memorial for the protesters who died during the agitation; removal of penal provisions against farmers in the ‘Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021’; and sacking and arrest of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son is an accused in the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence. In a letter to PM, umbrella body of farm unions has said that the agitation will not be called off at Delhi’s border points till the government resumes talks with it over the six issues.

In Kishangarh village of Mansa district, 59-year-old Kulwant Singh says they stand firm with the SKM. “We back the SKM 100 per cent. We will abide by its instructions. Such morchas are not organised every now and then. Till the time all demands are not settled, we will not lift even a single dharna. Villagers are in high spirits. We trust PM’s announcement even though BJP leaders are still giving confusing statements. I believe that PM will repeal the farm laws.”

His neighbour in the village, Rani Kaur added: “We women can continue the dharnas for next two years. We faced so many challenges every day while sitting on roads… we will stay there for few more days.” The 53-year-old, however, expressed hope that the issues are settled soon.

A 30-year-old from Kila Bharian in Sangrur district, Satnam Singh, said the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh seems to have forced PM’s hands. “It is not that PM was really serious about protest sites. But the fact is elections are going to happen in Punjab and UP. So it became a compulsion for them,” he said.

He, however, was quick to add that he will act as per the directions of the SKM. “There are no ifs and buts in our village. We all are upbeat for November 26 programme to be held at Singhu and Tikri borders to mark one year of agitation”.

Roop Singh (52), from Dalla village of Jagraon constituency of Ludhiana district, added, “We performed bhangra at our protest site on the day PM announced taking back farm laws. But at the same time, our dharna is still going on with same zeal. Let all demands be met. We will act as per SKM’s call.”

In Bathinda’s Pitho village, Paramjit Kaur said: “Sangrash roz roz nahi kite jande…Dharnas will go on. Other demands are yet to be heard. Let government call a formal meeting with farm leaders. Only then a decision can be taken to clear the sites. We will wait for the directions of SKM.”
She, however, added, “It was compulsion of PM to take back farm laws”.

Meanwhile, many villagers have started moving towards Delhi borders to make November 26 programme a big event. At Tikri border gatherings have already started increasing and new pandals are being set up to accommodate more.

“We now trust firmly that laws will be taken back as PM will not make any further delays. BJP leaders are still in shock and hence a few of them are still confused. They made us suffer, we will remember this. Our memory is not so short,” said Baljinder Singh (28) from Khiyali Chehlan Wali village of Mansa district.

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