Image courtesy: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
Farmers on December 20, 2020 called for their version of ‘thali bajao,’ local-level gheraos, international protests and relay-fasting over the course of the next week at the Tikri border to intensify the agitation against the three farm Acts.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) President Jagjit Singh Dalewal said farmers will engage in ‘thali bajao’ on December 27 whilst Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks during the Mann Ki Baat radio programme.
“Modi plans to assure us about the benefits of the laws during the Mann Ki Baat session. During the entirety of his speech, we call on farmers to bang plates and drown out what he has to say,” he said.
Farmer leaders assembled at the press conference also called for demonstrations on December 26 at the local level to appeal to all Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) officials and similarly-affiliated people to join farmers in their opposition to the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Similarly, leaders appealed to Indians living abroad to show their solidarity with farmers by observing protests in their areas over the weekend.
Further, they condemned the Haryana government for detaining anyone riding a tractor in an effort to subdue the protest. Members who attempted to return to the state from the Delhi-Haryana border said that police would not let them enter their homeland.
In response, farmers organisations called for another ‘toll-free struggle’ where all toll plazas of Haryana will remain open for three days starting from December 25.
Moreover, a farmer leader from Punjab said that a group had already left to gherao the state income tax office for sudden raids at the house of local leaders.
Later, on December 23, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait asked all those sympathetic to farmers to skip one meal in honour of the movement against the laws.
“December 23 is celebrated as ‘Kisan Diwas.’ We call upon all our supporters to give up one meal of their day that is provided to them by farmers to show that they stand with our struggle,” he said.
Swaraj India farmer leader Yogendra Yadav announced that protesters in and around Delhi will 24-hour relay hunger strikes from December 21.
“From Monday, 11 people will fast at the protest points all over the capital city to denounce the three laws forcibly passed by the government. We call on farmers in other parts of India as well to observe such relay fasts to express solidarity,” said.
Regarding the Homage Day on Sunday to honour protesters who died during the movement, the organisation said it would donate excess money from the agitation’s fund to compensate the aggrieved families. According to an All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) press release, 40 people died during agitations in 22 states where nearly 90,000 programs drew in a crowd of over 50 lakh people.
Farmers also confirmed that they would continue to boycott Adani, Ambani products especially, items of the Adani-Agro company Fortune.
The conference was livestreamed on farmers’ Kisan Ekta Morcha Facebook page on Sunday. The coverage was momentarily interrupted as the giant company’s officials unpublished the page claiming violation of community guidelines.
In midst of a Facebook Live I was doing from Kisan Ekta Morcha’s page, we get a notification that the FB page has been unpublished.
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) December 20, 2020
However, following sudden and intense outrage over the move on rival social media platform Twitter, Facebook restored the page stating that they “regret[ed] the inconvenience caused.” As of Sunday, over one lakh people follow the page.