Yogendra Yadav equates farmers' protest sites with Chardham; Bhupinder Hooda hails the stir

Addressing a gathering at the Ghazipur border, Yadav said this is not a day for speeches, adding that whatever the farmers had said, they have done it.
Social activist Yogendra Yadav (Photo | PTI)
Social activist Yogendra Yadav (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav on Saturday equated the four venues at Delhi's borders, where farmers were protesting for over a year against three agriculture laws of the Centre, with Chardham, four pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

Addressing a gathering at the Ghazipur border, Yadav said this is not a day for speeches, adding that whatever the farmers had said, they have done it.

"Now, we will not speak but books and history will speak. The entire nation will speak. Today is just a day to remember that for the last one year, the meaning of Chardham has changed in our country. People from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu used to come and say that they wanted to do a yatra of four places -- the Singhu border, the Tikri border, the Ghazipur border and the Shahjahanpur border. These (protest sites) had become Chardham for the country," he added.

Although the protesting farmers will vacate these sites in two-three days, the names of these places will forever be etched in the hearts of people, Yadav said.

He said from now on, whenever the nation recalls the Champaran agitation, it will also recall the "Dilli ka Morcha" and whenever people say the country adopted the Constitution on November 26, they will recall that the farmers had also come to Delhi on November 26.

"When our nation will recall the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, it will also recall the brutal killings of Lakhimpur Kheri. Whenever the nation will remember the Rezang La battle, it will also recall the February 28 battle of Ghazipur," Yadav, who was actively involved in the farmers' agitation, said.

He credited Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait for ensuring that the protest does not die down.

Sharing the stage with others at the Ghazipur border, Yadav said this is not a day for displaying ego.

Instead, it is a day to remember that this victory is not of those who are on stage or seen on television, but it belongs to those who stayed in tents braving all challenges and also to the crores of people who supported the agitation from their homes, he added.

"When people ask me what have you gained from this and what are you taking back home, I respond saying the farmers of the country have got their lost self-respect back," Yadav said.

With happiness and mixed emotions as farmers at the Ghazipur border have started returning home, the coordinators of the protesting unions said the remaining protesters will go back in a phased manner and the site would be completely vacated by December 15.

Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday congratulated the farmers on the "victory" of their movement that lasted for more than a year.

"I have never seen such a long and disciplined movement. For more than a year, farmers spent days and nights in roadside dharnas braving cold, heat, rain, storm and difficult conditions," the former Haryana chief minister said.

"They faced torture and humiliation from those in power, lathis, tear gas, cold water cannons, iron nails, trenches were used on them and yet they stuck to peace, truth and non-violence," the leader of opposition in the state said, adding, "There is an atmosphere of happiness in the whole country on this victory."

"I am happy that the farmers are returning to their villages and are being warmly welcomed everywhere," he said.

Hooda demanded that the government withdraw all the cases registered against the agitators without delay and "as promised".

He also demanded financial help and government jobs to the kin of the farmers who were killed during the year-long agitation, besides granting Minimum Support Price the farmers had been asking for.

"Agriculture has to be made a profitable enterprise for farmers and the government should make such policies in future so that the 'annadata' does not have to take to the streets. The food producers of the country suffered during the farmers' movement in the last one year and this should not be repeated," Hooda stated.

On Saturday, farmers from Punjab and Haryana were accorded a rousing welcome with sweets and garlands at several points on their return journey.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farmers' unions, on Thursday had decided to suspend the over a year-long farmers' movement against the three contentious farm laws and announced that the farmers would vacate the protest sites on Delhi's borders on December 11.

The kin of 11 farmers who lost their lives during the stir against the Centre's farm laws were given appointment letters for government jobs in Punjab on Saturday.

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Randeep Singh Nabha handed over the letters of appointment as clerk to the next of kin of the deceased farmers, according to an official release here.

Calling farmers the backbone of the state's economic structure, the chief minister said, "The state government will always undertake every possible step to ensure welfare of the victim families."

The state government has already given jobs to the kin of the 157 deceased farmers.

The state government had earlier announced Rs 5 lakh as financial aid and a job for one member each of the deceased farmers' families.

Farmers had claimed death of more than 700 peasants from Punjab, Haryana and other states during the agitation against the now-repealed farm laws.

Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday hailed the successful completion of a farmers' agitation at Delhi's borders against three contentious agriculture laws of the Centre as they headed back home after 380 days.

He hailed the culmination of the farmers' agitation of "tapp", "tyaag" and "tapasya".

"It was their discipline, dedication, determination and perseverance that saw the movement reaching its logical conclusion with the government of India eventually repealing these laws," Singh said in a statement while congratulating and welcoming thousands of farmers back home in Punjab.

He also hoped that the Punjab government would fulfil all the commitments made to the farmers in the Congress party's poll manifesto.

"I have already fulfilled most of these promises and the onus is now on the incumbent government to fulfil the pending commitments before the election code of conduct comes into force," the former chief minister said.

The Punjab Assembly polls are due early next year.

Singh, who has floated his own political party to contest the upcoming polls after his unceremonious exit as the chief minister, was succeeded by Charanjit Singh Channi.

Expressing satisfaction over the resolution of the farmers' issue, Singh recalled how a year ago, he personally got himself involved with the movement and encouraged the farmers to take their protest to Delhi.

"I am happy that our purpose has been served and the laws have been repealed to the satisfaction of our farming community," he said.

The former chief minister said he was on course to fulfil all the pending demands of the farmers, but "unfortunately, first because of COVID-19 and then due to my replacement, some demands still remain unfulfilled, which the new government must fulfil now".

He reiterated his resolve to serve and safeguard the interests of common Punjabis, especially the farmers, at any cost.

"I want to reassure my farmer brothers and sisters that I won't hesitate in taking any step when it comes to watching Punjab's and farmers' interests the way I did in 2004, when I repealed all previous water-sharing agreements with other states with the Punjab Termination of (Water Sharing) Agreement Act, 2004 to save our waters and also save Punjab from going dry," Singh said.

Farmers from Punjab and Haryana were accorded a rousing welcome with sweets and garlands at several places on their return journey from the national capital on Saturday for their "victory" after the Centre repealed the three farm laws.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmers' unions, decided on Thursday to suspend the year-long movement against the three laws and announced that the farmers would go home from the protest sites at Delhi's borders on Saturday.

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