Indignant Farmers are more Scared of Discrimination & Loss of Livelihood than Covid Pandemic
By: Ashwathy Nair
Despite the barricades, water cannons and tear gas deployed by the police, farmers from six states i.e., Rajasthan, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana headed towards the national capital to protest the farm laws.
There are thousands of outraged farmers who are protesting the farm law as they are more scared of discrimination and loss of livelihood rather than the scare of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was stated by a farmer when the protestors reached the outskirts of the national capital.
As the police are trying to break up the agitation, by the end of the day, the increasing amount of protesting farmers is expected to grow to tens of thousands.
It was stated by a senior Delhi Police Officer that “Delhi’s residents won’t be endangered. At any cost, they will not be allowed to enter Delhi”.
On Thursday, the farmers marched to Delhi only to be confronted by a massed Haryana police force. The force used water cannons, lathi-charge, and tear gas, attempting to push back the peaceful protesters.
Barricades wrapped in barbed wire was also set up by the police along with sand-laden trucks in order to block the path of farmers and they even dug up the roads to act as trenches.
To control the protest, coronavirus rules have been cited by the authorities, which require social distancing. The way the Haryana government was handling the incident, they were criticized.
In Haryana, there are over 20,000 active Covid cases, whereas Delhi has been fighting a third wave of infections, the active caseload has jumped to almost 40,000.
However, protestors and civil society activists have questioned the government’s reference to Covid’s rules in order to stop farmers, pointing out that such rules did not seem to be applied when Haryana’s deputy chief minister, Dushyant Chautala, recently held a major political rally.
“Few days ago, when Dushyant Chautala rallied thousands of farmers without masks and no social distancing being followed. That time there was no pandemic, at the time of Bihar elections there was no pandemic. Only when the farmers gathered, there is pandemic. This must be a very strange disease.”
The protest is regarding the new laws that the centre say, it will reform the agricultural sector. It will be removing the middlemen and will improve earnings by letting them sell or produce anywhere in the country.
It is being alleged by the farmers as well as opposition parties that this law will deprive the farmers of a guaranteed minimum price for their produce and it will leave them at the mercy of corporates.