Rs 10 to Rs 1 lakh: People from different walks of life donate for farmers’ cause
At Delhi’s Singhu border, four farmers have been assigned the critical job of accepting voluntary donations and documenting the list of contributors daily. From donations of Rs 10 to a lakh rupees, monetary aid has been pouring in at the border, a road between Delhi and Haryana, which has been at the centre of the protest against the three farm laws.
For the last 20 days, Amreek Singh, Jasbinder Singh, Kamaljeet Singh and Kuldeep Singh sit behind a makeshift stage between 9am and 5pm with their registers, to note down the names, contact numbers, and addresses of their donors, only after which they accept the fund. They also provide an acknowledgement slip to the donors and sometimes, announce the name of the donors from the stage.
According to their register entries, seen by HT, the donations range between Rs 10 and Rs 1 lakh. Among the donors are farmers, workers, businessmen, teachers, students, activists, writers and homemakers.
Jasbinder Singh, a member of Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, a Punjab organisation, said, “The movement is supported by people from different walks of life. People are contributing according to their economic status. The contributions range from Rs 10 to Rs 50 and from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.”
The farmers said that they receive a contribution of Rs 2 to Rs 3 lakh daily. “We collect the money, document the record and then submit the amount to our management committee by the end of the day. These funds are used on the daily expenses for the stage, including microphones, speakers, mats and tents. We have recently provided 25 large waterproof tents and hundreds of tarpaulin sheets to the protesting farmers from the same funds. Besides, we have decided to help the families of farmers who lost their lives during the protest with these donations,” said Amreek Singh, a member of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kadian).
Amid allegations of farmers receiving “foreign funding” and “funds for their protests”, he said that a section of people is propagating a “false narrative”.
“They are saying that farmers are receiving money from Canada and other foreign countries. Those who are sending money are also our brothers and sons. They are not terrorists. Besides, people should know we are not asking for even a penny from anyone. People from across the states and different walks of life are willingly contributing for the cause,” Amreek Singh said.
On Sunday, around 300 people had contributed by 4pm. The majority of them, according to the entries, were from Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab. Some of the donors were also from the southern states of Telangana and Karnataka. Among them was Zeba, a social activist from Delhi. “None will be able to survive without farmers. We are here because of them. If farmers are fighting for a cause, we should help them,” she said.
Amarjeet Kumar, of Bihar, who works as a farm labourer in Punjab’s Ludhiana district, also contributed Rs 100 on Sunday. “If farmers will not be there, who will give us work? I just want to be a part of this historic movement with my small contribution,” he said.
Baljeet Singh, the head of the IT cell set up by farmers under the banner of Kisan Ekta Morcha, said, “We have not even put up posters and banners requesting people for donations. They are walking in to contribute. The contributions are regularly helping us manage the stage and other works here. We will soon be installing two 20x10 foot digital screens at the protest site so that farmers can see what is happening on the stage. The cost of maintenance of those screens will be Rs 15,000 per day.”