Farmers to start relay hunger strike from today to mount pressure on govt
Farmer unions protesting at Delhi’s borders on Sunday, decided to step up pressure on the government to repeal the new farm laws and announced a relay hunger strike at all the protest sites from Monday onwards, while asking agitators from across the country to join them.
Addressing a press conference at the Singhu Border on Sunday evening, Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav said, “We have decided to start a 24-hour relay hunger strike, starting Monday, at all the protest sites in Delhi as part of our ongoing agitation. At least 11 people will sit on strike at a time. We request farmers protesting in different parts of the country to also join us.”
The agitation at Delhi’s four key borders – Singhu, Tikri, UP Gate, and Chilla – entered into its 25th day on Sunday.
The farmer union leaders on Sunday also requested all agitating farmers to skip a meal on December 23, which is celebrated as Kisan Diwas (farmers’ day) every year. Rakesh Tikait, leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union Tikait (BKU) faction in Uttar Pradesh, said, “On this Kisan Diwas, farmers across the country will skip a meal. Those who provide food to the nation will stay hungry because of the government’s anti-farmer’s stance. I request everyone not to cook lunch that day and join the farmers.”
Appealing to the agitating farmers to maintain peace at the protesting site, farmer leader Jasbir Singh Bhatti said, “The government has been trying to defame the ongoing movement. They have been propagating propaganda against us. I request the government not to defame us and appeal to the protesting farmers, especially the youth, to maintain peace.”
Farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dalewal said that the agitating farmers will make all toll plazas free in Haryana between December 25 and 27.
On Sunday, farmers protesting at Delhi borders observed ‘shaheedi diwas’ and paid tribute to those who have lost their lives in the agitation against the three farm laws. At Singhu borders, posters and banners with photos of farmers who died during the protests were put up at different locations and people were seen lighting candles and offering floral tributes.
Joginder Singh, a farmer from Bhatinda who has been camping at the Singhu border since November 27, said, “At least 24 farmers have died in the last 25 days across the country. But the government is still not listening to our demands. Their deaths will not go to waste. We won’t go home till the government withdraws the three new farm laws. We are ready to die in this battle like our brothers.”
Similarly, farmers also held candle light marches at different locations to mourn the deaths of fellow protesters.
Addressing a gathering at Ghazipur border, VM Singh, leader of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, said, “Their sacrifice has further strengthened our movement. We will have to take care of their families now.”
At the Chilla border, protesting farmers were seen paying tributes to those who died during the ongoing agitation. Yogesh Pratap Singh, a member of Bharatiya Kisan Manch (Bhanu), said, “We honoured those who lost their lives while participating in this movement. We won’t give up on our fight and continue this protest for as long as it takes. We will participate in the hunger relay hunger strike from Monday.”
At Delhi’s borders, protesters were on Sunday seen shouting slogans against the government, singing songs of resilence, taking out marches with posters and banners, and attending speeches delivered from the stage. The farmers were also seen discussing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Rakabganj Sahib Gurudwara on Sunday.
Indrajeet Singh, a farmer from Moga, said, “The Prime Minister should also visit us here and see how we are living on the streets without a roof over our heads in this harsh weather. He will realise our pain. I request the Prime Minister to accept our demands and end this deadlock.”