Delhi: Retired Army veterans join farmers’ protest, celebrate Vijay Diwas at protest venue
With their medals pinned on, nearly 40 Indian Army veterans, including some who had fought and won the 1971 war against Pakistan, on Wednesday gathered at the Singhu border and celebrated Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) along with thousands of farmers who have been protesting there against three farm laws for the past 21 days.
The veterans, who are members of Indian Veterans’ Organisation (IVO), said they had come from five states to the protest venue to “support and fight the farmers’ agitation” as defence personnel.
“On this day (December 16) in 1971, the Indian Army defeated Pakistan in war, which resulted in East Pakistan’s liberation and the creation of Bangladesh. The protesting farmers need something similar from us to win their battle against the government and get freedom from the three black farm laws. We have come here to extend our support,” said Captain Ashin Khan (retd), general secretary of the IVO, adding that he was part of the Kargil War, and operations Pawan and Parakram.
These veterans from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, said that their presence in solidarity with the farmers should be considered as the real tribute to the defence personnel who died fighting the 1971 war. More than 1,500 members of the IVO have visited the Singhu and Tikri borders since the agitation started 21 days ago, said Captain Bikkar Singh (retd), adding that had fought the 1971 war with Pakistan.
Captain Joginder Singh Sengar (retd), national president of the organisation, said that he was pained by the “misinformation” being circulated through various mediums that the farmers’ protest is being “funded by terrorist organisations” and that “anti-national elements” have taken over the protests.
“I came with my team to the Singhu border to identify such elements. But forget about terrorists, we have not even found any political leaders here. All those who are protesting are farmers and there is no international funding as such. If any anti-national element is identified, we will catch them and treat him the way the Indian Army treats a terrorist,” said Sengar.
The retired Army officers said that the farmers and defence personnel are two sides of the same coin and by supporting the farmers they will be able to uphold former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”.