Farmers' Agitation to Move Ahead With More Strength Despite Attempts to Run it Down
Farmers raise questions
The attack on the farmers by the media and the ruling party after the unfortunate events has stirred deep anger and resentment amongst the farmers and their supporters across the board. Many are asking questions of the government instead despite what they recognise as a “calculated godi media” effort to drown their voices.
Instead of backing off, the targeting of the farmers movement has also strengthened their resolve to take this democratic and peaceful movement forward with the realisation that their responsibilities have increased manifold after what happened on Tuesday.
“It was a big conspiracy against our peaceful and democratic movement that now stands exposed. The forces opposed to the farmers wanted to torpedo and crush the movement. But when the masses are together with resolve, no force can stop them,” said Narayan Dutt of Inquilabi Kendra Punjab who has been associated with the farmers’ movement right from the beginning.
He pointed out that going to the Red Fort was never on the agenda of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha,the umbrella organization of farmers that is leading the protest, as it serves no purpose.
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Ashok Dhawale pointed out, “The agitation is going to move ahead with more strength. What happened at the Red Fort should not have happened and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has disassociated itself from the fringe elements responsible for what happened. Having said that, it needs to be pointed that it was a fixed agenda of the government, police and elements like Deep Sidhu to defame the movement. Otherwise who can enter a high security area like the Red Fort and unfurl a flag there.”
The farmers and others insist that the violence that marred their protests smacks of ‘conspiracy.’
To begin with, it is being pointed that while the Kisan Tractor Parade was scheduled to start, other elements including an organisation that had been kept out of the Morcha, started off two hours in advance. And were allowed by the police despite the talks with the SKM leaders earlier about the timing and the route.
Several questions are being raised by Deep Sidhu who posted videos of himself at the Red Fort. As well as another ‘leader’ Lakha Sidhana who is also being held responsible by the farmers of creating confusion by misdirecting the farmers on tractors away from the route.
Photographs of Deep Sidhu with actor Sunny Deol reportedly visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi are being shared on the social media. Deep Sidhu is a Punjabi actor who had played an active role in the campaign for Bollywood actor Sunny Deol who had successfully contested the last parliamentary polls from Gurdaspur constituency on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. Sunny Deol has since tweeted that neither his family nor him has anything to do with Deep Sidhu.
Lakha Sidhana is reportedly a gangster turned activist. Observers point out that both Deep and Lakha have a substantial following among the youth.
Coming back to the developments in Delhi, there have been reports saying that on the eve of the Kisan Tractor Parade, while the entire farmer leadership was busy in making preparations for the parade, the fringe elements had hijacked the main stage at Singhu Border announcing changes in the route to be taken for the parade.
Sources say that there is a clamour now to filter out the fringe elements among the farmers who want to take the movement forward in a peaceful and non violent manner.
“Our responsibility has increased manifold and we cannot allow the movement built over several months to suffer without achieving the goals that we had set. The movement will get stronger across India in the days to come,” said Narayan Dutt.
The captive media has played an expected role in trying to target the Punjabis and in particular the Sikh community by repeatedly referring to Nishan Sahib which is purely a religious symbol as the Khalistan flag. Channel after channel has been trying to dish out the narrative that the movement is backed by Khalistanis.
With no connect to the ground; these anchors are unaware of the fact that Khalistan has no takers in the present day Punjab. They have also conveniently tried to erase the fact that the farmers’ agitation has seen people carrying both the tricolour and the green and yellow flag that is symbolizing the farmers’ movement with the caption ‘Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad’.They have also been wrongfully trying to convey that the national tricolour was insulted on Tuesday.
People are also annoyed that these sections of the Media only highlighted the episode at the Red Fort carried out by the ‘anti farmer movement’ elements while completely ignoring the original Kisan Tractor Parade that was held in complete peace and harmony with thousands of tractors participating along with lakhs of people.
The Kisan Tractor Parades were also held in majority of towns and cities across the country where common people had greeted the participants by showering flower petals and offering food to them. In the small towns of Punjab like Barnala and Jagraon there were thousands of tractors that participated in the parades. With huge mobilisation reported from all other states as well.
This aspect was highlighted by the farmer leader Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan who wrote on Facebook, “Today's rally is just a flop for them. Those who only watched the official show of 'Red Fort'. Otherwise millions of people marched on the streets of Delhi in a very peaceful manner, which the country's Godi media did not show. Undoubtedly today is a historic day.”
The popularity of the movement is such that even the tourist vehicles coming to Himachal Pradesh are flying the farmers movement flag. A wave from the tourists is enough to get an enthusiastic response from the commoners.
The farmers have been effective in countering the propaganda on the social media.Once again the Tractor2twitter handle successfully trended with the hash tag #GodiMediaStopMisleading.
Cover Photograph Reuters