‘COVID will not kill farmers but farm laws will’: Punjab farmers leave for Delhi to join stir amid COVID crisis

Taali Bajao protest

New Delhi: As India continues to reel under COVID crisis, a large group of farmers left for Delhi on Thursday from the district’s Harike Pattan town to take part in the protest against GoI introduced three farm laws.

The protesters, including women and the elderly, left Harike Pattan in tractor-trailers, cars, and mini-buses. Before embarking on their journey, the farmers shouted slogans against the central government. No one was seen wearing face mask and social distancing norms were also not followed. More than 40 people were seen huddled in some trailers, Hindustan Times reported.

The procession scheduled to reach Delhi today was organised under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) having a considerable hold in the Majha region and some districts of Malwa. It was the 13th procession of the KMSC from Tarn Taran since the beginning of the Delhi agitation.

Quoting KMSC’s district president Sukhwinder Singh Sabran, the report said: “The GoI is spreading misinformation about COVID to weaken our protest. This virus is pretty much similar to the other viruses. Covid will not kill farmers, but the black farm laws will.”

The 2020–2021 Indian farmers’ protest is an ongoing protest against three farm acts that were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020.

Farmer unions and their representatives have demanded that the laws be repealed and have stated that they will not accept a compromise. Farmer leaders have welcomed the Supreme Court of India stay order on the implementation of the farm laws but rejected the committee appointed by the Supreme Court. Farmer leaders have also rejected a government proposal, dated 21 January 2021, of suspending the laws for 18 months.

Eleven rounds of talks have taken place between the central government and farmers represented by the farm unions between 14 October 2020 and 22 January 2021; all were inconclusive.

On 3 February, farmer leaders warned of escalating the protest to overthrowing the government if the farm laws were not repealed. The stay order on the implementation of the farm laws remains in effect, and the Supreme Court appointed committee continues with its tasks related to the farm laws. Six state governments (Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and West Bengal) have passed resolutions against the farms acts, and three states (Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) have tabled counter legislation in their respective state assemblies. None of the counter legislation passed the respective state governors.


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