Farmers gear up for much-anticipated tractor parade on Republic Day

Topics farmers protest | New Delhi | Punjab

New Delhi: Tractors lined up on the KMP expressway as farmers gear up for their Jan 26 tractor rally in Delhi, as part of the ongoing agitation against farm reform laws, near New Delhi, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Farmers at Delhi's three protest sites -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border points -- were busy with their last minute preparations on Monday ahead of their much-anticipated tractor parade on January 26.

They said one of the major highlights of the parade on Tuesday will be the 'jhankis' (tableaux) that will be led by a trolley carrying the sacred text of the Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib.

While the entire vehicle has been adorned with flowers, posters of Sikh leaders like Shaheed Baba Deep Singh, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and Guru Tegh Bahadur have been pasted on the sides of the tolley

"The rally will be led by our holy text. We will distribute 'prasad', and devotees can pay their respects. Behind the sacred vehicle, people will walk, after which the tractors will arrive," said Jarnail Singh, a volunteer at the Singhu protest site.

According to Kashmir Singh, assistant secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (Punjab), the government has provided the farmers three routes, which the tractors will follow during their "completely peaceful parade".

"The rally will show what India's farmers can do. There will be 'jhankis' from all states that will showcase the condition of farmers ther," he said.

The tractor march is likely to begin at 11:30 am and expected to continue for 10-12 hours, a Jai kisan Andolan (Swaraj Abhiyaan) spokesperson said.

Some tractors will also pay tribute to all the farmers who died during the course of this agitation.

Artist Parminder Singh, who hails from a farmer family in Sangrur, will express his solidarity through one of his paintings that show a black snake, representative of the three farm laws, choking the farmer.

"My painting talks about the inevitability if the laws are passed. We will either place it on the top of a car, or at the back of a trolley," the painter said.

Several tractors and trolleys that will take part in the march from the Singhu border have already been adorned with flags of different farmer unions alongside the national flag.

"Some tractors will also perform stunts," saidBalkar Singh, a protesting farmer.

Protesting farmer unions opposing the three contentious farm laws said their parade will not enter central Delhi and it will start only after the official Republic Day parade concludes.

The unions claimed that around two lakh tractors are expected to participate in the tractor parade which will move into the city from three border points --- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur (UP Gate).

Enacted in September last year, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of minimum support price and do away with the 'mandi' (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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