CHANDIGARH: Alleging that notices are being served on people backing the agitation against the farm laws, BKU leader Balbir Singh Rajewal on Sunday asked farmers to gherao Delhi Police personnel if they come to their villages to make an arrest.
The BKU (Rajewal) leader also asked the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government that the state police should not cooperate with the Delhi cops.
“If the Delhi Police personnel come to arrest you, gather the entire village and oppose them,” Rajewal told farmers at a “Kisan-Mazdoor Ekta Maha Rally” in Punjab’s Barnala on Sunday.
The rally was organised by the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.
Two days ago, Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni had made a similar appeal.
Rajewal asked farmers not to appear before the Delhi Police if they get notices for joining investigation and told them to ‘gherao’ the Delhi Police personnel if they come to make an arrest.
Claiming that the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre is scared of the farmers’ agitation, he alleged that those serving ‘langar’ or extending help to farmers at the protest sites near Delhi borders are being issued notices by police.
“Those who are bringing ‘langar’ material or extending help to us in whatever manner they can, they are being slapped with notices. It is in my knowledge that many FIRs have been lodged against unknown persons by the Delhi Police,” the BKU leader said.
“I want to make it clear to all farmers and labourers that if anyone gets notice, do not bother, forward one copy to us. No one needs to appear before police,” he said.
Rajewal said it is a “moment of test” for the Punjab government, which should tell the state police not to cooperate with the Delhi Police.
Rajewal further said the farmers’ agitation against the laws has now turned into a “jan andolan” (people’s movement).
“It is a question of your future and children,” he said, adding that they would not return until the farm laws are withdrawn.
He also praised village panchayats for their decision of sending people to the protest sites on rotational basis.
Rajewal said the Union government had no right to bring the laws as the agriculture is a state subject.
He also defended commission agents (arhtiyas), saying they only charge for their “service” and accused the Centre of bringing corporates as “middlemen” with these laws.
On farmer leaders’ multiple rounds of meetings with the government earlier, Rajewal said, “We told the government that when they are ready to make many amendments in these laws, what is the problem in rolling back them.”
The BJP had propagated that they framed these laws keeping in view the farmers’ interests but we confronted them and asked where farmers demanded the legislations, he stated.
Addressing the gathering, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said his outfit has planned to hold a big gathering in Delhi on February 27 and decided to observe International Women’s Day on March 8 in the national capital.
Referring to the Republic Day violence, Ugrahan said it was done by a group which acted at the behest of the government.
He asked farmers to prepare for a long battle against the farm legislations.
“This is not a fight of a religion or caste. It is a fight of secular people. This agitation is for occupation. It is a fight of the country’s farmers,” he said.
BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan also sought release of labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur, lodged in a Karnal jail.
Kaur, a member of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, was arrested for allegedly gheraoing an industrial unit and demanding money from the company in Sonipat on January 12.
From ‘Pagadi Sambhal Diwas’ to ‘Daman Virodhi Diwas’, protesting farmers Sunday announced a series of events from February 23-27 to further intensify their agitation against the three new agricultural laws as they accused the government of adopting “repressive” measures against them.
They also said they will soon devise a strategy to keep the protest going for long and will make their plans public on February 28.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the protests, told a press conference here that under their proposed escalation programme, February 23 will be observed as ‘Pagadi Sambhal Diwas’ and February 24 as ‘Daman Virodhi Diwas’, essentially to underline that farmers must be respected and no “repressive measures” should be taken against them.
“The ‘Pagdi Sambhal Diwas’ will be celebrated on February 23. This day will be celebrated in memory of Chacha Ajit Singh and Swami Sahajanand Saraswati. On this day, farmers will be wearing their regional turbans.”
“On February 24, ‘Daman Virodhi Diwas’ is announced in which the farmers and citizens will protest against overall suppression against the farmers’ movement.
On this day, memoranda will be given to the President of India via Tehsil and district headquarters,” said Darshan Pal, a farmer leader The Morcha said February 26 will be observed as ‘Yuva Kisan Diwas’ (youth farmers day) and February 27 as ‘Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Divws’ (farmer-labourer unity day).
“On February 26, honouring the contribution of youth in this movement, a ‘Yuva Kisan Diwas’ will be organised. On this day all the stages of SKM will be operated by the youth. Youth from various states are requested to join the protesters at Delhi Borders.”
“On January 27, on Guru Ravidas Jayanti and martyrdom day of Shaheed Chandrasekhar Azad, ‘Kisan Majdoor Ekta Diwas’ will be celebrated. All the citizens are appealed to strengthen this movement by joining the protesters Delhi borders,” Pal said.
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav told the press conference, “The government is adopting all the repressive measures, mischief and manipulations including arrests, detentions and registration of cases against the protesters.
The Singhu border has been fortified and appears to be an international border”.
A long-term plan for movement will be discussed in view of the Parliament session from March 8, and the strategy will be shared in the next meeting of SKM, he said.
Darshan Pal, also alleged “repression” by the government.
He said around 32 people have got bail out of 122 arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the violence and vandalism in the national capital during a farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day.
The three contentious agricultural laws were passed by Parliament last year with the government saying they will benefit farmers by freeing them of the clutches of the middlemen and ushering in new technology in the sector.
However, thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders against the laws for close to three months now, saying these legislations will remove the safety net of MSP and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.