Despite PM Modi’s assurance, farmers refuse to call off protest at Ladowal Toll Plaza

Despite the Prime Minister announcing the revocation of the three farm laws, almost a year after their passage triggered widespread farmers’ protests, the farmers protesting at the Ladowal Toll Plaza have refused to vacate the spot.

While the farmers’ protests were primarily concentrated on the Singhu border, the protest at the Ladowal Toll Plaza, also came to gain significance as farmers blocked the Panipat-Jalandhar Toll demanding revocation of the controversial farm laws that were enacted on September 17.

Farmers, who have been living in temporary huts at the Ladowal Toll Plaza for almost a year, say they would end their protest after all the contentious farm laws, including the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmer’s (Empowerment And Protection) Agreement Of Price Assurance And Farm Service Bill, 2020, and The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, are officially withdrawn in the winter session of the Parliament.

‘Pained that we had to lose 700 farmers’

“This is the best gift we could have expected on Gurpurab, but we are also pained as over 700 farmers were martyred in our battle against the arrogant Central government. For now, we will continue to hold fort here till the laws are officially withdrawn,” said Boota Singh Shadipur of the Kirti Kisan Union.

Pardeep Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union said the protest will continue until the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is an umbrella body of farmer unions, calls off the protest.

“Many farmers have been protesting against the controversial farmers’ laws for a year. A few lost their family members, but that did not deter their spirit. The government could have taken the step earlier when our leaders invited them for talks. Meanwhile, we lost hundreds of farmers. Now, we want everything in writing before we end our protest here”, said Pardeep.

Commuters congratulate farmers

Commuters, including truck drivers, police men and passersby, stopped at the Ladowal protest site to hug and congratulate the farmers for their landmark victory.“We are not distributing sweets yet but we will do that once the laws are slashed in the parliament. We are happy that the Guru has blessed the Prime Minister with better sense and humanity”, said Surender Kumar, a farmer at the Ladowal toll site.

Ram Kumar, a truck driver said that many people including beggars would eat food at the Ladowal site.

All sections cheer

The urban population, which has also been supporting the farmers’ agitation, were also seen cheering for the farmers.

Restauranteur Sukhkaran Gill, who is member of a biker group that has been holding rallies in support of farmers, said though it is a politically motivated move, it is a victory for farmers. “We have been supporting the agitation as implementation of these laws would have impacted the urban population too. Corporate houses would have taken over the markets and there would have been no place for small traders and businessmen.”

A transporter, Jagdish Singh said that the economy of the state depends on the farming sector and it was necessary to support the farmers in their fight against the Union government. “The government should repeal the farm laws at the earliest so that the farmers, who have been protesting for over a year can return to their houses safely. Over 700 farmers have already died during the agitation and the Union government is responsible for it.”

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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.