It was a Kisan Mazdoor Veopari Ekta Rally on Sunday, and the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) put up a united front of farmers, traders, shopkeepers, ahrtiyas and mazdoors at the grain market of Abohar — days after an assault on the BJP’s Abohar MLA Arun Narang at Malout.
The farmer leaders focused on maintaining unity which was on display on the stage as well. Jagjit Singh Dallewal, president of BKU (Sidhupur) and member of SKM, said, “Now this fight is not only about farm laws, but this fight is also against a political party which is spreading communal thoughts in the country. We are getting united against these thoughts, be it someone from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or even other states of India.”
He added, “Eh ladai jitte bine sarna nahi. Kai kehde ne vada-ghata kar lo. Le-de ke faisla kar lo. (We cannot do without winning this fight. Many say do something midway or come to a decision by some give and take) but it is not possible. Here give and take means to compromise on the duration for which the government is delaying the farm laws. Repeal is the only way out. Youngsters have to fight this war as we have lived more than half of our life.”
On the Malout incident, Dallewal said, “BJP and its people can create such tense conditions in Punjab so that peace is disturbed. They will always try that we should remain stuck in Punjab due to such incidents. As a result, Delhi morcha will fail. Hence, we need to understand their mischievous plans. We have to protest against them by showing black flags and raising slogans against them rather than grabbing anyone from collar or tearing someone’s clothes. This fight is for our zameen and for our future generations. If the youngsters get hit by such incidents, for whom will we fight in Delhi? We need to understand this.” A total of 21 BKU (Sidhpur) members have courted arrest in the Abohar MLA’s assault case as their office-bearers were present at the time of the incident.
Referring to the General Agreement on Trariffs and Trade (GATT) and later World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement, he said, “These farm laws cannot be detached from the GATT and WTO agreements. Therefore, we need to go back to the old details and should know how Dr Manmohan Singh and P V Narsimha Rao played roles in these agreements. Every political party played their role. So even if farm laws are repealed, this fight will not be over. This is a fight to take the country out of WTO membership. Only then will we be independent in a true sense.”
Balbir Singh Rajewal, SKM member and president of BKU (Rajewal), recalled a meeting of NITI Aayog in 2017 in Delhi in which he was part of it and how participants were talking about doing farming by taking big chunks of land on contract. Rajewal stated, “They had put up that idea in cold storage after we raised strong objections. But the Centre came up with farm laws with similar ideas in 2020.”
Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU (Ugrahan), said, “Farmer unions may be having ideological differences but on the farm laws, we all are one and at one stage. The same should be the case with farmers, labourers and shopkeepers…Our call to oppose BJP leaders remains the same but peace should be the main mode to protest.”
Punjab Kisan Union president Ruldu Singh Mansa said, “There are 28 FIRs against me and 18 against my son. Two days ago my grandson too was arrested by police as he objected to kurki of a farmer. Now he too has an FIR against him. So we are three generations working for public causes…”
One of the langar stalls at the Abohar grain market was organised by Sandeep Jakhar, nephew of PPCC president Sunil Kumar Jakhar. Sandeep is a former district Youth Congress president, Fazilka.