NEW DELHI: Beyond the concrete barricades and concertina wires put up by the Delhi police at Singhu, a seemingly unending line of tractors and trailers rests on the once busy Delhi-Karnal national highway.
Except for a brief period after the Republic Day violence, which saw attrition of protesters, the site has been active since the farmers camped here in November last year. If the whole place looked like a 'Mini Punjab' earlier, a 'Mini Haryana' has come up here as large number of people, cutting across age, from various parts of the state have reached here recently.
Even though the footfall at the protest site has dipped slightly, the spirit of farmers remains high even as the agitation has survived a biting winter and is on way to enter a scorching summer. "We are farmers. We are used to winter, summer, rain and flood. This summer, too, would pass," a farmer told this reporter.
Well aware of the dramatic turns that have been occurring across the country and abroad in connection with the ongoing protest, the farmers said their spirits cannot be broken.
Regarding the arrest of activists like Nodeep Kaur and Disha Ravi, an 80-year-old farmer Chaman Singh from Punjab’s Ropar district said, "This is a cheap tactic of the BJP government to scare the innocent protesting farmers. The government doesn’t have the power to break our spirit and protest."
Singh, who has been a farmer leader for over 40 years, further said, "This is the fight for our children and it will continue."
Jai Prakash, a 70-year-old farmer from Jind district of Haryana, said, "If all the people who raise voice against the government are anti-nationals, Khalistanis and terrorists, then you will not have soldiers to guard the borders and to manage the law and order situation inside the country."
He added, "If the government thinks we are Khalistanis or terrorists, let it lock us in jail. The jails in this country are too small to fill these many farmers and at the same time your stomach would also go empty." Meanwhile, Surender, a farmer from Punjab, said the number of protesters has not come down.
"The strength has not fallen. People are coming and going. While I stay here for a week, my brother goes home to look after the works. The youngsters are gone for their final board exams and college exams. They will join us after the exams," he said.
Newcomers join protesters
Besides farmers, a large number of school students, too, is visiting the site to express their solidarity. A group of students and young women from Haryana were seen arriving to support the farmers.
"This is peaceful protest. If it is just an agenda, why should people come here and sit in the cold. I, who aims to become a civil servant, request the government to listen to them," said Class 11 student Nidhi from Kurukshetra.
Echoing her sentiment, a Class 10 student Suman said, "Arresting youngsters for supporting farmers and raising voice against the wrong actions of the government is against our democracy. Such step will weaken the confidence of future generations like ours."