‘Delhi Chalo’ march: How the farmers are preparing for the long haul in their demand for msp on crops

The farmers have yet again started a movement and are trying to reach Delhi, demanding a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

The ‘Delhi Chalo’ call, which started on February 13 from Punjab, could not make a breakthrough due to adequate arrangements and multilevel security deployment at all the borders of Punjab and Haryana. Anticipating this, farmers groups are prepared for the long haul, just like what they did in 2020-21.

Farmers who were trying to enter Delhi via Ambala have been stopped at Shambhu border, and the last two days have been confrontational, leading to injuries to many of these farmers as well as security forces who are trying to stop them by force.

Another front has opened at Khanauri border, which connects Punjab’s Patiala district to Haryana’s Jind.

Catch all the latest updates on farmers’ protest here.

There was a massive confrontation between the farmers and the security forces at this border, as reported by India Today, where farmers were trying to breach the huge security layer, but the preparedness by the administration resisted every push made by the farmers. The situation at Khanauri border is no different from Shambhu border.

The agitating farmers are adamant about making their way to Delhi.

More than a kilometre-long convoy of farmers with their tractors and trucks is carrying enough supplies. It is evident that they are prepared for a really long haul as they are determined to reach the national capital.

While dialogues between farmers and the government take place, the situation at Khanauri border looks very calm. Farmers have cleaned up their side of the road since this has become their makeshift camp. Food is being prepared, and supplies are coming through Patiala and Sangrur. The Dallewal group of farmers’ union has mobilised their supporters to the Khanauri border.

The agitating farmers are adamant about making their way through Delhi, demanding a law on MSP, and say they have stock for 6 months.

Rajinder Singh Sirsa, a local jathedar, told India Today, “We don’t want to fight with the government, but MSP is our legal right and for that, we have to reach Delhi. No matter what it takes, we will make our way through, and hence we are carrying rations, food, and other stocks necessary for six months. If there is any crisis, we will have our backup from back home.”

On the morning of February 15, several women’s groups were also seen reaching Khanauri border to join the agitating farmers. From districts like Patiala, Jalandhar, Sangrur, Mansa, these women have started joining the men who are camping at the Hori border and waiting for a window to breach the security barricade to cross over Haryana and make their way through Delhi. These women are also carrying dry stocks from back home.

Women have started participating in preparing food and langar, which has multiplied the strength of farmers. Saroop from Ludhiana told India Today, “It has been 3 days and our men could not reach Delhi and are stuck at this border. We will help them at least by making food for thousands of these farmers and be some help to them.”

The entire convoy of these farmers at the border is being guarded by a huge police force and local commandos from Punjab Police inside the territory of Punjab. The state police haven’t made any attempt to confront the security establishment at the Haryana border, but they haven’t stopped the farmers either from going ahead towards the border.

The Punjab government has deployed a fleet of ambulances which are taking farmers to the nearest hospitals who are injured in the clashes and confrontation.

Mobile unit hospitals made in ambulances have been deployed at the border areas to help sick farmers and also in case of other emergencies, including injuries during confrontations with the security forces.

The border areas have literally gone dark both in terms of electricity supply and the internet. Farmers are unable to access their social media or digital media platforms due to no mobile internet, and nights also become difficult as there is no electricity. Several young farmers and their family members were seen tampering with the electricity poles on the national highway where the farmers are using local cutters and cables to connect electricity with these poles.

The farmers will take electricity from the electric poles erected on the national highway.

Young farmers have started kite flying at the confrontation zone to neutralise the drones being used by the security forces with tear shells to disperse the crowd. However, after objections raised by the local administration of Punjab to that of Haryana, drones were not seen on February 15.

The young farmers are also saying if there is no conclusion after the meeting of the farmers and the government representatives, they will be bringing heavy earth-moving machines like JCB to dismantle the multi-level security barricades at the Haryana border.

Gurpreet Maan, a local farmer from the group says, “We are waiting for a positive outcome, but if the government fails to agree to our demands, we will not wait and get JCB to dismantle the concrete structure erected by the Haryana government at the border, and we will make our way to the national capital.”

Gurpreet said that we are not here to fight with our jawans as they are our brothers, and we are all a family in the land of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan, but the government is using the security forces to not only obstruct our ways but many of our farmers got injured by the offensive attack by these forces.

Farmers are showing determination to reach the national capital, and for that, they are literally prepared for a long haul.

Published By:

Vivek Mishra

Published On:

Feb 15, 2024

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