Back in Punjab, farmers say unions cannot ignore their sentiments and retreat

Back in Punjab, farmers say unions cannot ignore their sentiments and retreat

As they rejected Centre’s offer of deferring the farm laws for more than a year, leaders of farmer unions said that one of the key reasons for doing so was that such a move would not have found acceptance back home in Punjab. They pointed out that the protest had been a success because of wholehearted support from each farmer and any decision in Delhi has to be fully reflective of their sentiments.

Back in Punjab, farmers supporting the stir agreed, saying that unions will lose credibility if they return without repeal of controversial farm laws.

Gurvinder Singh (45) a small farmer with 3 acres of land from Dharamgarh village in Sangrur, said: “It (government) may take time but cannot ignore such a large number of protestors…Our leaders have repeatedly told us that nobody will return from Delhi unless laws are cancelled and the law on Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops is not passed by the Centre,” he said, adding that this was the only reason to move to Delhi and now there was no question of retreating without this achievement set forth.

Buta Singh (35) with six acres of land in village Kanankwal said that their leaders had told them clearly that they will come back only after getting the demands accepted and this was the reason that farmers supported the movement overwhelmingly.

Mamta Rani, a farm woman from the same village, echoed similar opinion and said that her family has been at Tikri border since November 26. “We have been spending restless nights here. Now all this cannot go waste by accepting anything but our demands.

The farmers in Punjab are supporting the protesters with only this hope that they will not return empty handed….The movement has taken root in their heart, and people will not accept anything less than repeal even if their leaders agree to government proposals,” Rani said.

“After the reports that there were some farmers’ leaders out of 32 unions of Punjab had agreed to the proposal of the centre government, the restlessness among the farmers back home has increased and they have have started calling us that how they can agree to anything less than the repealment,” said a local leader of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan).

“There is no point of listening to anything except the cancellation of laws as our leaders had told us that there was a single goal and because of which we had supported them wholeheartedly by sending our families to Delhi,” said farmer Kulwant Singh from Mansa, adding that now the fight is being led by the common farmer of Punjab.

“During our village level meetings for collecting ration and other essentials for the protesting farmers in Delhi, the people have opened their hearts with all types of contributions but they are not ready to listen that farmers leaders would agree to any other proposal,” said a Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee leader.

“Agreeing to any other proposal except our demands would lead to loss of faith in the unions,” said farmer Gurdev Singh, adding that their leaders will not ditch them.

“Every village has placed the permanent trollies at Singhu and Tikri borders where they are living in such trolley-homes for the past around two months in such a harsh and bone chilling weather conditions and their sacrifice cannot be wasted at any cost,” said another farmer, Satwinder Singh Sandhu of Batala in district Gurdaspur, adding that it is a historical battle and its results must be historical only in the form of getting law on MSP.

Amrik Singh, a farmer from Wadala Kalan in Kapurthala, said that the sacrifice of our 143 farmers, who lost their lives in the protest, cannot be honoured without getting the “genuine demands accepted by the government”.

“When we go to the villages we get only one question that when the government is going to cancel these bills as the common farmers here has only one thing in mind and that is cancellation of bills,” said BKU (Ugrahan) Leader Rimpa Singh, who had come back from Tikri after spending around 45 days and going back tomorrow again for a ‘tractor parade’.

He further said that not only our leaders, but farmers back in Punjab will not agree to any amendment or proposal.

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