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Farmers set to write a new chapter in history despite 'barriers' imposed by authorities

By Harsh Thakor

The peasantry of Punjab belonging to 32 different organisations, forming the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, have written a new chapter in history after igniting a spark into a prairie fire. Refusing to be despaired, despite being thwarted by police barriers, they have revealed unprecedented courage. It is not just the vast numbers, 10 lakh plus, but their electrifying impact that is striking the ruling classes at their backbone.
Among the organizations which have been particularly active in organising the protests is the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugarhan) or BKU (Ugrahan). It has galvanised over one-and-a-half lakh people, including around 50,000 women. More than 50% of the protestors are youth, which is a positive trend.
Scenes at Tikri, Singhu, Jharoda, Ghazipur and Chilla, the areas on the border of Delhi, have seen farmers weathering tear gas, water cannons and barricades amidst falling temperatures. Langars were set up, base camps were established, slogans were raised, flags were waved, and tractors were pounded in.
Then there are the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. These organizations helped highlight how the agricultural bills would destroy democratic aspirations of the peasantry.
These bills, it was pointed out, gave corporates a licence to plunder the peasantry by having a total monopoly in dictating prices and obtaining land. Speakers stated that the dominance of corporate houses in agricultural sector meant complete tarnishing of the public distribution system (PDS).
The new system, it was suggested, would ensure profit to the corporate houses and multinational corporations by depriving people of essential commodities. It would also increase black marketing, artificial glut and scarcity in the market. The agitation was an attempt to save agriculture and to ensure food security of the masses, the speakers insisted.
Opposition parties Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Akali Dal, were criticised for their economic policies, suggesting, these in essence did not different much from BJP. However, the main criticism was directed against BJP, which, it was underlined, was patronizing corporates more than any ruling party has ever done. Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav was also criticised for asking the agitation to retreat. 
Among the Ugrahan activists who took an active at the Tikri border, where protesters occupied several kilometres of road, were Shingara Singh Mann, Jaswinder Singh Soma, Harinder Kaur Bindu and Paramjit Kaur Pitho.
Then there were Zora Singh Nasrali of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Amolak Singh of the Punjab Lok Sabhyacharak (PLS) Manch, Amitoz Singh Maur of the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), and Sushil Kumari, Rajesh Dhankar, Mukesh Khasa and Khushbir Kaur from Haryana. All of them addressed gatherings.
Speakers explained that the Modi government was responsible for the discomfort the local communities were facing due to the ongoing agitation, insisting, the agitation was meant to provide economic security to farmer as well as food security to the country. They appealed to the residents of Delhi to understand the purpose of agitation while facing the problems caused by it.
A play “Superpower” was performed. It was choreographed by the PAL Manch. Jagsir Singh Jida and his Lok Sangeet Mandali Jida performed in their typical style. Ajmer Singh Akalia presented revolutionary songs on the occasion.
BKU (Ugrahan) named five protest sites after the names of historical personalities representing the legacy of struggles leading up to the ongoing agitation against the farm bills. These were called Baba Banda Singh Nagar, Chacha Ajit Singh Nagar, Bibi Gulab Kaur Nagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Shaheed Sadhu Singh Takhtupura Nagar. A press gallery was installed in the name of Shaheed Ashfaqulah Khan to provide information on the struggle.
In Punjab, solidarity agitations and cultural programmes were held at over dozen places. Seeking abolition of the farm bills, Kulwant Kaur, Ranjit Kaur, Buta Singh, Bawa Singh Atwal and Ninderpal Maidita addressed 200 people at village Mehmoodpur, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district. Slogans were raised against the Modi government, and in favour of farmers’ struggle and worker-farmer unity. Effigies of the Modi government were burnt in Mehmoodpur and other villages.
At the Langda Bypass, Chandigarh Road, the Kirti Kisan Union undertook a major solidarity action seeking closure of Nawanshahr district on December 8, the day on which Bharat Bandh has been announced.
Participants included activists from the Auto Workers Union, the Tempo Union, the Taxi Union, the Women Jagriti Manch, the Indian Federation of Trade Unions, the Kirti Kisan Union, te Rehri Workers Union, the Migrant Labour Union, the Bhatha Workers Union, the Dr Ambedkar Mission Society, the Rural Labor Union, the Medical Practitioners’ Association, the Democratic Teachers Front, and Punjab Students’ Union.
At Bhatinda city, the Farmers’ Struggle Support Committee conducted a torch march in support of the farmers sitting in Delhi. Around 500 people, including 100 women, participated. Nearly 80 per cent of the participants were teachers. A fund-raising campaign, in which shopkeepers contributed generously, was part of the campaign. Solidarity demonstrations were also held by workers in industrial areas of Ludhiana.
A major role during the struggle was played by BKU’s Harinder Bindu, who shimmered the flame of resistance by mobilizing over 10,000 women, thus paying a fitting a tribute to the movement.
News about the support by well known Bollywood singer Diljit Dosanjh as also several top sportsmen from Punjab, who declared their willing to relinquish their medals, was inspirational. 
There was news of solidarity meetings in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Some friction was visible during the farmers’ agitation. The Kirti Kisan Union, which mobilised around 20,000 Dalit landless labourers, accused BKU (Ugrahan) of sabotaging the movement by projecting its own image and violating the collective spirit. The Ugrahan group did not counter the criticism, as it thought it would cause friction amongst the participants.
Need was felt about ensuring caution. Many participants felt, one must guard against trends that wish to portray a this uprising as a resurgence of the Sikh movement or the Khalistani agitation. It was insisted, leaders would do well to strike a balance by not becoming victim of either compromising with the ruling class leaders or under-estimate certain subjective forces.

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