Students join farmers in protest at Delhi’s borders

Most of these students are from Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Punjab University, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Ambedkar University.
Farmers raise slogans during their protest against the Center's new farm laws at Ghazipur border in New Delhi.(PTI)
Farmers raise slogans during their protest against the Center's new farm laws at Ghazipur border in New Delhi.(PTI)
Updated on Dec 25, 2020 03:05 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

At Delhi’s borders where tens of thousands of people are protesting against the three farm laws, it isn’t just farmers or those with a farming background but hundreds of students from different universities have joined the protesters.

The students said they have joined in to be part of the “revolutionary movement”.

Most of these students are from Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Punjab University, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Ambedkar University.

Sukhwinder Singh, a student of MA in History at Punjab University and a member of Ambedkar Students’ Association, who has set-up a library at the Singhu border along with his friends, said, “We are here not because our family members are associated with farming but because we genuinely resist these new laws. Who will feed us if the farmers won’t be there? How will people from marginalised sections afford food if farming is completely corporatised? Now is the time to do something to stop that disaster.” Singh and his friends have been staying at the Singhu border protesting site in a tent for the last two weeks.

Vivek, 17, a student of DU’s School of Open Learning (SoL) and a member of All India Students Association (AISA), has been attending the protest at Singhu border since November 29. His association has set up a medical help desk for protesting farmers. “I am from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district and from a farmers’ family. I know how these laws will affect our families. We will come on the roads,” he said.

The farmers’ agitation against the three new farm laws at Delhi’s four key borders – Singhu, Tikri, UP Gate, and Chilla – entered into its 29th day on Thursday.

Similarly, students are attending the ongoing protest at the Tikri border as well. Among them is Kaushik Raj, a PhD scholar from JNU, who is participating in the agitation from the day one. “No revolution is complete without students participating in it. We are here because we understand that it’s a matter of grave concern. And if we don’t fight against it now we will never get another opportunity,” he said.

Kaushik and his friends have set up a library at the border and have also started screening movies on revolution and farmers’ issues at Tikri border from Thursday under the banner of “trolly-talkies”. When asked how he manages his PhD work along with the protest he said, “Books are not the only medium of gaining knowledge. Here we are getting knowledge of real life issues.”

Navkiran Natt, a member of AISA who has completed masters in film studies from Ambedkar University this year, said, “Many of us who belong to farmer families know that the new farm laws will take away the only source of income-- our lands.”

Besides, students from different Universities have also set up libraries at Ghazipur and Singhu border under the banner of “Vikalp Manch”. Students can also be seen helping farmers at langars and while cleaning the protest sites.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, protests remained peaceful at Delhi borders. At the Singhu border, farmers held a webinar to “burst myths” about their ongoing movement. The webinar was attended by 10,000 people and another 66,000 watched it on Facebook and 43,000 on Youtube by Thursday evening. As many as 1,640 questions were answered by farmers during the webinar, said Baljit Singh, head of the farmers IT-cell, Kisan Ekta Morcha.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Fareeha Iftikhar is a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. She tracks the education ministry, and covers the beat at the national level for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different policy matters.

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