Will be peaceful: Farmers refuse to call off tractor march
Farmers, protesting against three agrarian laws, refused to call off the Republic Day tractor march while assuring that it will be peaceful. The Supreme Court will hear the Centre's plea against the march today. Yogendra Yadav from the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha said the rally will be taken out on the Outer Ring Road of Delhi, covering areas like Janakpuri, Munirka, and Nehru Place.
Since November, farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi's borders demanding that three controversial laws are repealed. They believe the laws will leave them at the mercy of big corporate players. The Centre, reiterating that it won't happen, held nine rounds of talks with them, but the discussions didn't end the impasse. Last week, SC stayed the implementation of laws.
As talks and tactics to protest at Delhi's borders didn't move the government from its stand, the farmers announced they would take out a tractors march on January 26. The Centre, through Delhi Police, urged the top court to halt the protest, arguing that it will cause embarrassment to the nation globally. It also cited law and order issues in the plea.
However, Yadav, one of the most prominent faces linked to the agitation, said farmers will be celebrating Republic Day with much fervor. "The tractor parade will move in a circle on the Outer Ring Road, which goes around areas like Janakpuri, Munirka, Nehru Place, Tikri. We hope that Delhi and Haryana Police will not cause us any problems or restrictions," he told IE.
"No obstruction will be caused to the Republic Day parade at Rajpath. These are symbols of national honor and we will not harm them. Every vehicle will bear the national flag and no flags of any political party will be allowed," Yadav added.
As per the plan, Haryana's farmers will bring ghee and sand from their respective villages. They will light an Amar Jawan Jyoti as a tribute to 121 farmers who have died in the agitation, said Yadav. Farmers will neither carry weapons nor indulge in inflammatory speeches and don't intend to occupy government buildings either. They will return to Delhi's border after completing the rally.
Further, Rakesh Tikait from Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) revealed farmers would seek a stay in the court, hinting that they are prepared with the next steps after the verdict. "We want to put out a message through media that the administration should cooperate. If they don't, there will be a problem. Because we will go to Delhi and that is a fact," he asserted.
Meanwhile, 22 former officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the BSF have urged protesting farmers not to derail the Republic Day celebrations. "We are confident that our dear farmer brothers don't have any plan to disturb any formal function of R-Day," their statement read. The ex-servicemen reminded them of the Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan slogan coined by former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
They reminded that while soldiers secure borders, farmers ensure food security. "The history is witness to it that the farmers have supported our armed forces to ensure the win of the country in every war," they added. Citing tension in Ladakh, triggered due to misadventures of China, and the coronavirus pandemic, the ex-servicemen said now is the time to stand united.
On a related note, farmers' bodies have strongly objected to the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) summons, sent to supporters of the agitation. The government claims Khalistani elements are participating in the protest. "Action is being taken against those who cooperate in the movement. We condemn the action the NIA is taking, we will fight against it legally," a leader reportedly said.