Agitating farmers observed a nationwide “Resistance Day” on Wednesday to mark six months of protest at the borders of the Delhi-NCR over the new farm laws. They carried out marches, raised black flags and burnt effigies in several cities, including villages in Punjab and Haryana.
Gurnam Singh Chaduni, president of the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union, in a video message said they are celebrating the day to oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Today is the day to show your opposition for yourself and your family. Raise black flags on your rooftop and vehicles, and burn effigies of the Prime Minister.” Chaduni said this is a fight for the farmers’ economic independence.
Leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha told The Indian Express that they were not aiming at a show of strength but a “symbolic protest” with COVID protocols in place. They said they were ready for a resolution through talks but the government must come up with a viable proposal. Twelve major opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and DMK, last week extended their support to the protest.
In an official statement, the Morcha said the farmers’ movement is running on truth and non-violence and will be completing six months of its historical struggle on Wednesday. “SKM requests all Indians to celebrate and mark Buddha Poornima tomorrow, so that truth and non-violence find a strong place back in our community, at a time when attempts are being made to erode these basic values in our society.”
Rakesh Tikait, BKU leader, said the farmers have been protesting for the past six months but the government has not taken back its black laws. He pointed out that they have written to the Centre about their concerns. “If the government can bring in laws during the pandemic, it can surely revoke them also. We are not going anywhere, we will stay here. We have a lot of time,” Tikait said.
Farmers’ unions, especially from Haryana and Punjab, are demanding the rollback of the three laws passed in September 2020 to lift restrictions on trade of farm produce to allow more private investments. Farmers believe these changes will leave them at the mercy of large corporations and supermarkets.