Farmer Unions will be observing May 26 as Black Day to mark six months of their protest against the three farm bills which have been put on hold by the Supreme Court of India. If the Samyukt Kisan Morcha is to be believed, over 40 farm unions have decided to hold protests tomorrow, i.e May 26. Following the call by the SKM, thousands of farmers have already started pouring in at the Delhi borders. The farmers are heading to Delhi violating the lockdown and COVID-19 protocols. Several opposition parties have already extended their support to their May 26 call.
While farmers continue to assemble at the Delhi borders, SKM leaders have told The Indian Express that the May 26 protest won’t be a show of strength but a symbolic protest with Covid protocols in place.
Member of SKM and president of Krantikari Kisan Union Darshan Pal said that farmers will hold protests in villages, cities, and on the Delhi borders. He said that farmers will do it by hoisting black flags, wearing black turbans, dupattas or clothes and by burning effigies of the Modi government. “No doubt some movement of farmers has taken place but our focus is not on numbers. We will observe the protest by maintaining social distance and other Covid norms,” said Darshan Pal.
Darshan Pal said the Modi government needs to do better than its earlier proposal as farmers are risking their lives for genuine demands.
BKU (Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan claimed that villagers in Punjab were adamant on carrying on with the dharnas, though with reduced strength. He said that the government is wrongly projecting the farmers as the cause of Covid. “We are protesting in open spaces on Delhi borders where our strength has reduced substantially. Even on Sunday, we did not send more than 4,000 persons to be part of the May 26 dharna, and that too in buses with 50 per cent seating capacity,” he told the IE.
When asked whether his union would accept Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder’s request to not hold a three-day dharna in Patiala from May 27, he said that the union will carry on with its plans as Covid has a mortality rate of just 5 to 10 per cent while farm laws have a 100 per cent mortality rate.
Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of Majha-based Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee said that the union has reduced the number of people going to Delhi borders. He claimed that earlier they used to move 15,000-20,000 people in one go while now they are sending just 4,000-5,000 at one time.
Ruldu Singh Mansa, president of the Punjab Kisan Union, said crowds at the border will further reduce as they have asked farmers to protest by burning effigies of the NDA government at their villages.