Every few months, the central government of this country faces a mass uproar from a new section of the society. In the past one year itself, the subject of protest varied from minorities, to students and to migrant workers. Currently, the government seems to have made an enemy out of the farmers of the country. Agriculture sector in India is the largest source of livelihood for its people, so while forming new bills and policies regarding the said sector, one would think that it’s a given that the people who these new changes concern to, are happy or at least satisfied by it. However, it seems that the central government has made a habit of not considering the widespread impact of the new polices, hence the protest. A habit not so favorable, when trying to govern a democratic nation.
Ever since the government came out with the new farms bills, farmers all over the country have been protesting against it. Farmers of Punjab had also organized a Dilli Chalo March in protest against the said bills. Their protest march, just like any previous protest has not been a smooth one. It has become a common phenomenon in this democracy for protesters with justified demands, to be met with water cannons and tear gas rather than solutions to their issues or even an acknowledgement of it for that matter.
Before the farmers could reach Delhi, there was heavy police deployment at the Delhi border. Water cannons, barbed wired fences, hundreds of Rapid Action Force and Delhi police personnel’s were all put in place to stop the farmers from reaching Delhi. Once the farmers reached the Singhu border, tear gas shells were thrown towards them. Before Delhi police, it was the Haryana government, who got in the way of the farmers. The farmers, who needed to cross Haryana in order to reach Delhi, faced stone pelting and tear gas bombing in the state. This action by the Haryana government aggravated the farmers more and made them more determined of reaching Delhi.
Witnessing a tense situation at the Delhi borders, the farmers are perplexed as to why such attempts are being made by the authority against their peaceful protest. Giving statement to PTI, one of the protesters asks, “why are they stopping us? Why don’t they allow us in? Don’t we have democratic right to protest in a peaceful manner? Punjabi’s made supreme sacrifice for this country’s freedom …farmers meet the food needs of the nation, but today the Centre is behaving as if we are terrorists and has put thousands of security personnel to stop our peaceful march.”
After a clash with the police at the Haryana border, thousands of farmers were allowed to enter the national capital and hold peaceful protest at nirankari-ground in north-west Delhi. By evening, all the protesters were allowed in the city for a peaceful protest at the approved protest site.
The next morning clashes were yet again witnessed between the police and the protesters coming through the singhu border. The clash saw the use of lathi charge, water cannon, tear gas and barricades by the state police. After the singhu border, security personnel were also deployed at the tikki border, stopping the incoming farmers from protesting there.
The farmers at both the borders, held their ground and despite heavy police deployment refuse to move to the approved protest site until they are given the permission to protest at Jantar Mantar.
On 28th November, a statement was released by the Home minister Amit Shah. In his statement to ANI, he said, “I appeal to the protesting farmers that govt of India is ready to hold talks. The agriculture minister has invited them on December 3 for discussion. The government is ready to deliberate on every problem & demand of the farmers.” Adding to that, he stated, “If farmers’ unions want to hold discussion before 3 December then, I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to designated place, our government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day.”
With farmers adamant on not backing down until the Centre takes back all the proposed changes in the bill and the centre’s continous assurance that the new farm bill is only going to bring positive changes, one can only wonder what is going to be the outcome of this overdue discussion.