Farmers on a sit-in protest against new farm laws, at Lehra Bega toll plaza in Bathinda, Punjab. (Sanjeev Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Farmers on a sit-in protest against new farm laws, at Lehra Bega toll plaza in Bathinda, Punjab. (Sanjeev Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Farmers voice disappointment, anger in Punjab and Haryana

  • Even farmers, who were earlier excited about the tractor rally and spent the day glued to their phones and television sets, said the violence on the streets of Delhi and outside the Red Fort weakened the movement.
By Aneesha Sareen, Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times, Amritsar/ludhiana/ Karnal/ Rohtak
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:09 AM IST

Anger and disappointment coursed through the hinterlands of Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday as farmers criticised the violence unleashed by their counterparts in the Capital, saying the clashes tarnished the peaceful image of the two-month-old protests and hurt the stir aimed at the repeal of three farm laws.

Even farmers, who were earlier excited about the tractor rally and spent the day glued to their phones and television sets, said the violence on the streets of Delhi and outside the Red Fort weakened the movement.

Harminder Singh, a 45-year- old farmer of Jalaldiwal village in Ludhiana, said the clashes will have far-reaching repercussions for the agitation that was hailed for the peaceful manner in which it was held.“These youngsters may be rejoicing after entering Red Fort but they have actually failed this agitation…It has dented the image of farmer protest,” said the man who owns 12 acres of land.

Satnam Singh, a 43-year-old farmer of Bhoian village in Amritsar, said the tractor march should have been carried out as planned and that the violent scenes will damage the agitation backed by hundreds of thousands of farmers. “... There is no room for any kind of violence. Peace and unity are the most powerful weapons to win any battle,” said the farmer.

These feelings were echoed by cultivators in Haryana.

Balbir Singh, an elderly farmer from Kurukshetra, said ensuring peace was the responsibility of union leaders.”The government was testing their patience and they have failed badly,” he added.

Ratan Mann , state president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Mann) condemned the incident. “Such people cannot be farmers and the government should investigate to find out forces behind this shameful act.”

Some people said they initially wanted to join the rally but desisted after seeing scenes of violence play out on the roads. “We decided to return from Delhi soon after we came to know that some farmer leaders were planning to reach the Red Fort,” said Sandeep Kumar, a farmer from Gharaunda in Haryana’s Karnal district.

Particularly harsh criticism was directed at the decision by some farmers to storm the Red Fort, where a protestor climbed an empty flag post and hoisted the Nishhan Sahib, the flag of the Sikhs, next to the Tricolour.

Gurmeet Dhaliwal of Bathinda said the incident at the Red Fort was highly unfortunate and Malak Singh, a Karnal-based farmer, said nothing could replace the Indian national flag.

Following the violence in Delhi, authorities in Punjab and Haryana sounded a high alert and said anyone taking law into one’s hands will be dealt with strictly.

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