Protesting farmers at the Singhu border on Wednesday said that despite appeals from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for older farmers to return to their respective villages, they were not ready to leave the protest site till their demands are met.
Farmers from Delhi’s neighbouring States have been at the Capital’s borders for nearly three months now, demanding the repeal of three agriculture laws passed by the Centre.
Several farmers at the protest site said that women and senior citizens would continue to protest at the borders to ensure that the agitation is not weakened.
‘Bid to reduce numbers’
Sukhwinder Singh, from Punjab’s Pola village, said: “Why should the elders go back? People have come here in large numbers and nobody will return till the laws are repealed. Appeals to sections of protesters to go back only shows that the Central government wants the numbers to reduce at the borders, but that is not going to happen.”
Jarnail Singh, 60, a farmer from Punjab’s Patiala district, said: “The elderly here are the sons of those who have sacrificed a lot for the country. So, how can these same people suddenly go back? We are ready to die here but will not return.”
“Our family members and neighbours are taking care of our households and fields back home,and even they do not want us to leave the protest and return,” said Mr. Jarnail, whose trolley is parked over seven kilometres away from the main stage at the Singhu border.
Jaspal Singh, a 65-year-old farmer from Punjab’s Taran Tarn district, said: “We cannot go home at this point. What will we do by returning? If the laws are implemented then anyway we will have nothing left. There are regular meetings taking place at the village level and all our schedules to visit the borders have been assigned. We will follow the same. Those governing the country should realise the pains of the governed.”
Getting ready for summer
Preparations to combat the summer heat, in terms of coolers and fans inside tents and trolleys, will also begin soon, the farmers said.
Amardeep Singh, another farmer from Patiala, said: “This is not a political movement but one which is completely driven by the farmers. People have voluntarily come here. In fact, women and children at times tell us that they want to join. One thing which is certain is that we will win and the people will not move till the laws are repealed. People have already begun making permanent structures. When we need it, fans and coolers will also be brought in. Like we have been saying since the beginning, we are prepared for the long haul.”