A mammoth gathering of Indian farmers and farm workers was organized in the Barnala city of Punjab on Sunday
Farmers and agricultural workers attend a rally against farm laws in Barnala in Punjab on Sunday. | Photo: Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

BARNALA (PUNJAB) — Sweeping aside the misleading reports, by some news outlets, of fizzling out of farmers’ movement against three new farm laws enacted by the BJP-led Central government, a mammoth gathering of farmers and farm workers was organized in Barnala city of Punjab on Sunday.

As per reports, the ‘maha rally’ (mega rally) was organized by the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU – Ugrahan). The huge rally was also addressed by leaders of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM).

Speaking at the rally, farmer leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said the struggle had exposed the powers which were trying to rob the pockets of the masses.

Calling the January 26 incident as a ‘government ploy’, Joginder Singh said, “A group was acting on the directions of the rulers. These were the same people who were vouching for Khalistan from day one. They were against the programs of farmer organizations.”

He reiterated, “This is not a struggle for religion or caste. This is a struggle for our livelihoods. This is not struggle of people of Punjab but of the people of India.”

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Appealing women to celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8 at Singhu and Tikri border, the leaders, in their address, also asked the people of Punjab to reach Delhi borders in large numbers on February 27, when the movement will enter its fourth month.

Interestingly, the organizers of the rally had made the seating arrangement in a 9-lakh sq ft area while the local police made arrangements for traffic management, given the expectedly huge rally. However, with lakhs of people participating in the rally, all plans to manage the traffic proved futile as huge traffic jams were witnessed around the city.

In Punjab, the gathering is being termed as one of the biggest rallies organized by any farmer union during the present movement against the new farm laws.

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The rally is being seen as an important development as it was for the first time that leaders of the SKM spoke from the stage of BKU (Ugrahan). It is worthwhile to mention that Ugrahan is not part of the front of 32 farmer organizations.

The huge gathering of farmers, which was estimated to be nearly 1,30,000, had a clear message that the protesters are ready for a long-haul.

Rakesh Tikait, one of the farmers’ leaders, has already said that farmers will continue their movement through the summer and would even sacrifice their crops, if need arises.

Asserting that the farmers are adamant on the removal of all three agricultural laws completely, Tikait, addressing a protest rally in Haryana’s Kharak Punia on February 18, said that the Centre shouldn’t be under any misconception that the farmers will go back to crop harvesting and that the protests would end in two months.

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