National

Farmers return to protest sites in thousands

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 23, 2021

Some farmers had gone back to their villages for the harvest   -  SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Defiant farmers to kickstart ‘Operation Shakti’ amid fears of eviction due to the Covid-19 surge

Contrary to expectations that farmers who had gone back to their villages for the harvest are unlikely to return to protest sites due to Covid-19 surge, are actually coming back in droves according to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) and Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Thursday.

‘Operation Shakti’

The unions said they will launch ‘Operation Shakti’ against the Centre’s ‘Operation Clean’.

BKU (EU) leader Pavel Kussa told BusinessLine that about 20,000 farmers had reached Tikri by late evening on Thursday. “Some of them have come back, leaving the harvest midway, while some have completed the harvest. The suppression, the Centre was about to unleash in the name of Covid-19, is the reason for their joining the protests again. Their return will further strengthen the agitation,” Kussa said.

The SKM also expects a similar number of farmers to join them in Singhu. “On the call of the SKM, farmers in large numbers have started coming towards Delhi to strengthen Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and Shahjahanpur borders. If the government is equally worried about the health of the farmers, then it should immediately repeal the three farm laws and make a law on MSP. This is the only solution where farmers can roll back the protest, otherwise, it will be getting stronger day by day,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal.

‘Fakes news by BJP’

He claimed that the IT cell of the BJP is constantly campaigning that “the farmers’ dharnas are obstructing the fight against the pandemic”.

“Some false news and propaganda are being spread that farmers have stopped trucks carrying medical oxygen and other essentials on the borders of Delhi. Farmers are also being accused of spreading the virus. SKM condemns and opposes all these false narratives,” he said, and asked the Centre to do its duty to save people from the pandemic, rather than blaming the farmers.

Meanwhile, leaders of SKM met officials of the Haryana government on Thursday and decided to remove barricades on one side of the highway at Singhu Border, to give smooth passage to medical oxygen, ambulance and other such emergency services.

“Farmers will support in every possible way to fight against the pandemic. The meeting saw the participation of the Sonepat SP, CMO and other officials, and several SKM leaders. SKM and the protesting farmers are committed to causing least inconvenience to ordinary citizens,” Pal told reporters after the meeting.

Published on April 22, 2021

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