The allowance for holding protests at the Nirankari grounds in Burari is a moral victory for farmers, said All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) General Secretary Hannan Mollah on November 28, 2020. The farmer leader told SabrangIndia that the central government’s initial opposition to the farmers’ march was just a panic reaction.
“They do not have the courage to sit and talk with us so they resorted to tear gas and water cannons. They even dug up national highways which had never been done before. They thought we would give in. We did not. So now, the government has relented and given us space for protests,” he said.
On November 27, the Union Home Ministry’s decided to allow free passage of farmers into Delhi to voice their grievances regarding the three agriculture laws forcibly passed by the BJP-led government. Farmers celebrated the Government of India’s surrender to the will of farmers.
Avik Saha, General Secretary of Swaraj India, tweeted the news while expressing concern about the holding capacity of Nirankari grounds in the comment section.
Government had to bow down today to the will and resolve of farmers of India to March into the national capital – Nirankari Grounds in Burari finalised for Farmers’ Protest pic.twitter.com/2cuJpn2HEt
— Avik Saha (@aviksahaindia) November 27, 2020
Meanwhile, Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal said, “After holding discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protests at Nirankari Ground in Burari. We appeal to all farmers to maintain peace.”
Accordingly, ground reports showed that protesters wasted no time in occupying and barricading the sanctioned area to continue their earnest demand for the withdrawal of the three anti-farmer-dubbed central Acts.
— Himanshi (@himansshhi) November 28, 2020
— Anand Singh (@Anand_Journ) November 28, 2020
However, while the defeat of the central government is an important achievement for the movement, Mollah said the coalition still did not trust the government.
“Following their initial defeat, it is likely they will resort to a divide and rule policy to break up farmers’ unity,” he said.
An example of such a strategy could be the Agriculture Ministers’ invitation to Punjab farmers for a discussion on December 3 that was castigated by the AIKSCC.
The Union Home Ministry finalised Nirankari Grounds in Burari for farmers’ protest following talks between Delhi police and Punjab farmers. The latter has many farmers’ Unions with differing views about agricultural topics. Many of these organisation members are yet to arrive in Delhi.
Once they assemble, the AIKSCC members intend to talk to Punjab farmers’ leaders to form a single united front for the foremost demand to repeal the three agriculture Acts that farmers consider to be pro-corporate, pro-MNC farm laws.
Nonetheless, the coalition views the ground allowance and free passage of farmers into Delhi as a definite win.
Once the ground is given, the government essentially recognises the farmers’ protest which compels the government to provide protesters with basic amenities to continue our agitation, said Mollah.
Nirankari ground can hold around 20 lakh people along with trucks. Currently, there are about 2 lakh protesting farmers in the city with tractors and trucks. More people are coming in from Haryana.
“We have been told that trucks forming a line of 70 kms are travelling towards Delhi from Haryana. Farmers plan to live in the trucks until the end of the protest. The vehicles are loaded with chulha, gas in preparation of a 15-days sit-in in Delhi,” said Mollah.
Meanwhile, batches of around 50 farmers have already mobilised from Sonipat, Panipat districts of Haryana to join protesters at the city border, Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (Tikait) President Ratan Mann told SabrangIndia. The farmers’ leader was released from detainment on Friday night and has also left for the border.
Similarly, massive numbers are moving along from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other states towards Delhi. The AIKSCC said it shall help with the accommodation of incoming farmers.
Along with the three Acts, farmers also oppose the Electricity Bill 2020. They have further criticised the central government during the course of the protest march for putting obstacles in the path of democratic assertion by India’s farmers.
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