Punjab farmers’ protest clicks with virtual followers

BKU (Ekta Ugraha) and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, register increase in online following since protests against the Centre’s farm laws intensified over the week
Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur) members protesting against the Centre’s farm laws outside the district administration complex in Bathinda on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur) members protesting against the Centre’s farm laws outside the district administration complex in Bathinda on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Published on Sep 29, 2020 04:20 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, Bathinda | ByVishal Joshi

The Punjab farmers’ agitation against the central laws aimed at liberalising the farm sector is not limited to rail and road blockades. It is finding resonance on social media too thanks to tech-savvy youngsters posting videos from protest sites, uploading interviews of leaders and sharing press coverage clippings.

The social media platforms are updated daily for the past one week and are getting an encouraging response in terms of views, likes, shares and comments.

“Punjab farmer rights’ associations are using cyberspace to build momentum for the movement against the central laws. It is probably for the first time that non-political organisations are using social media platforms in this manner,” says Rubal Kanozia, a media analyst and an assistant professor at Central University of Punjab, Bathinda.

The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugraha) and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, which are at the forefront of opposing the farm laws on the ground have registered an increase in following over the past week.

As on Tuesday, the BKU (Ekta-Ugraha) has more than 58,000 followers on its Facebook page that has been ‘liked’ by 45,000 users.

The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee has a following of 59,000 Facebook users and the page has 30,000 ‘likes’.

The BKU (Sidhupur) has 22,000 followers and its FB page has gained 19,000 ‘likes’.

AGITATION ACCELERATES TRANSITION

BKU (Ekta-Ugraha) working president Jaswinder Longowal said the need to focus on social media was felt over the past week. “Though village youngsters associated with farmer organisations had been asking us to tap social media but this agitation has accelerated our transition in these changing times of communication. We are working to strengthen our presence on new media,” Longowal said.

Earlier this month, the association organised a nine-day round-the-clock dharna outside the residence of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in a Muktsar village to protest the farmer laws.

Pinder Ghumman, a lawyer and farmer at Sangrur’s Gharachon village, is the man behind the Ugraha group’s FB page. It was earlier a personal account of Ghumman but now he has converted it into the official account of the Left-leaning union that has its presence in Mansa, Sangrur, Barnala and Bathinda districts.

“I go to every important event of the agitation for a Facebook live. Sometimes, volunteers at far-off villages send us videos and photos of protests or any farmer-related issues. The application to make ours a verified page is still pending with Facebook,” he said.

NEW MEDIA AND SELF-RELIANCE

Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, president Satnam Singh Pannu, who has been spearheading the rail blockade agitation and camping on a track in Ferozepur since September 24, said social media is needed for public outreach.

“Volunteers such as Sukhwant Singh in Ferozepur are working tirelessly to share the dissent of Punjab’s farmers. Some of them are engaged in private jobs but they update our social media accounts during their spare time. Now even NRIs have started supporting our agitation and are offering financial support ,” said Pannu.

A law student from Muktsar, Karan Singh Bhuttiwala, who is managing the FB page of the BKU’s Sidhupur faction said, “New media has made us self-reliant. We can raise our voice independently. We don’t need conventional media to communicate farmers’ issues.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Senior municipal secretariat official said that councillors will no longer be able to use the office space at the Civic Centre, the MCD headquarters, or be able avail other benefits. (HT Archive)

    The era of Delhi’s three municipal corporations at an end

    New Delhi: The terms of the three municipal corporations in Delhi are now coming to an end, marking the culmination of a tumultuous 10-year period marked by financial tussles that marred a move meant to improve the Capital's civic amenities. The Centre will now appoint a special officer to run the affairs of the unified civic body constituted by amending the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act until fresh elections are held.

  • Gurugram, India - May 21, 2019: Metro service operations on the Yellow Line were hit at around 9:30 am due to the breakdown of overhead wires between Sultanpur station and Chattarpur Metro station, in Gurugram, India, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Photo by Parveen Kumar / Hindustan Times) **Pic to go with Prayag Arora’s story**

    DPR of new Metro link connecting Gurugram, Delhi to be presented before Khattar

    The much-delayed Metro extension project connecting Palam Vihar and Dwarka Sector 21 may finally get a boost as the detailed project report has been finalised and will be discussed in a meeting chaired by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar at the PWD guest house in Gurugram on Wednesday evening. The Metro extension project is likely to become operational in 2027 if it gets an approval from the Haryana government.

  • HT Image

    Security beefed up around Kejriwal’s residence, Police tells HC

    The Delhi Police on Tuesday informed the Delhi high court that the proposal to curtail entry to the road along which the chief minister's residence is located is under consideration and discussions are on with the residents' welfare associations of the Civil Lines area in this regard. Advocate Sanjay Lao, standing counsel of the Delhi government (criminal) told the court that total strength of police personnel on Kejriwal's security duty now stands at 64 with 20-22 personnel stationed at the residence round-the-clock.

  • HT Image

    ‘Conman’ goes on hunger strike in Tihar jail to demand more meetings with wife

    New Delhi: Demanding more than the prescribed number of monthly visits with hChandrashekhar'sjailed wife, jailed conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar was on a hunger strike almost three weeks after which he was rushed to the jail hospital, prison officers said on Tuesday. It has been 25 days since he is on hunger strike due to discrimination and threats faced by him at hands of jail authorities.

  • Charging point for electric bus at Sinhagad fort. (HT FILE PHOTO)

    ‘Mini buses with only seating passengers to be allowed at Sinhagad fort’

    Pune: Plying electric mini buses of seven-metre width, more charging points, barricades and repair of ghat section stretch are some of the steps that will be taken to facilitate tourists visiting the Sinhagad fort. Chairman and managing director, Laxminarayan Mishra, PMPML said that e-bus will carry only seating passengers to minimise risk.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 17, 2022