At Tikri, a short march for course correction: ‘This will improve our discipline for future parades’

A day after chaos in the capital, farmers at Tikri border Wednesday largely agreed that the developments of Tuesday — including veering off the designated route, entering Red Fort and hoisting the Sikh religious flag atop it — were “wrong”, though some insisted it was a “ploy” to defame protesters. Crowd remained large at the border protest site Wednesday, with only those who had come just for the tractor rally having left. Many said going back was not an option. “We have been here from day one and will stay till the end. We will stay till 2024, until this government goes, if we have to,” said Sukhdev Singh from Bathinda. Most people were around the main stage, where speeches emphasised that only instructions of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha be followed and asked protesters not to be “swayed”. Late afternoon, volunteers took out a march till Bahadurgarh bus stand to mark their presence among farmers, after appeals from the stage to “march under flags of farmers”. Gurudutt Singh, a volunteer, said, “After yesterday’s mistake, this is a way for us to register our presence among farmers and also improve our discipline for future parades.” At the stage, one speaker said, “This was a BJP ploy. Farmers were misled. They are the ones who provoked us by making us sit here for 60 days. We will keep fighting.” Another said, “What happened at Lal Qila is not something we could have done. One must ask how this small crowd could enter Lal Qila and hoist a flag with police present there.” Many in the audience agreed. Major Singh, a farmer from Punjab, said veering off the route was not necessarily wrong but the Nishan Sahib flag should not have been hoisted at the Lal Qila. “People say permission was not given for the route some took. Even Bhagat Singh didn’t have permission to enter the Assembly, but he did. If the government had listened to us, none of this would have happened. But the flag hoisting was wrong. We are here only under the Indian flag and flags of our farmer unions,” he said. Jagsir Singh, from Jagraon in Punjab, said, “There has been so much frustration among people. Our people have died. They have killed themselves. There was no outrage then. But now farmers are being maligned. This was a reaction to an action.” However, some like Surinder Singh felt what happened on Tuesday was not wrong. “It was required. At least now the government knows our strength. We have been sitting here peacefully, and we have got nothing,” he said. The discomfiture with the Nishan Sahib being hoisted at the Red Fort was more palpable among farmers from Haryana. Kishan Kumar from Jhajjar district said, “Whatever happened was completely wrong. This is not a protest of a single religion. It is a protest of farmers, and the farmers’ flag should always be supreme. Routes should have been followed. This will create problems for our union leaders in future negotiations now.”

At Tikri, a short march for course correction: ‘This will improve our discipline for future parades’

A day after chaos in the capital, farmers at Tikri border Wednesday largely agreed that the developments of Tuesday — including veering off the designated route, entering Red Fort and hoisting the Sikh religious flag atop it — were “wrong”, though some insisted it was a “ploy” to defame protesters.

Crowd remained large at the border protest site Wednesday, with only those who had come just for the tractor rally having left. Many said going back was not an option. “We have been here from day one and will stay till the end. We will stay till 2024, until this government goes, if we have to,” said Sukhdev Singh from Bathinda.

Most people were around the main stage, where speeches emphasised that only instructions of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha be followed and asked protesters not to be “swayed”. Late afternoon, volunteers took out a march till Bahadurgarh bus stand to mark their presence among farmers, after appeals from the stage to “march under flags of farmers”.

Gurudutt Singh, a volunteer, said, “After yesterday’s mistake, this is a way for us to register our presence among farmers and also improve our discipline for future parades.”

At the stage, one speaker said, “This was a BJP ploy. Farmers were misled. They are the ones who provoked us by making us sit here for 60 days. We will keep fighting.”

Another said, “What happened at Lal Qila is not something we could have done. One must ask how this small crowd could enter Lal Qila and hoist a flag with police present there.” Many in the audience agreed.

Major Singh, a farmer from Punjab, said veering off the route was not necessarily wrong but the Nishan Sahib flag should not have been hoisted at the Lal Qila. “People say permission was not given for the route some took. Even Bhagat Singh didn’t have permission to enter the Assembly, but he did. If the government had listened to us, none of this would have happened. But the flag hoisting was wrong. We are here only under the Indian flag and flags of our farmer unions,” he said.

Jagsir Singh, from Jagraon in Punjab, said, “There has been so much frustration among people. Our people have died. They have killed themselves. There was no outrage then. But now farmers are being maligned. This was a reaction to an action.”

However, some like Surinder Singh felt what happened on Tuesday was not wrong. “It was required. At least now the government knows our strength. We have been sitting here peacefully, and we have got nothing,” he said.

The discomfiture with the Nishan Sahib being hoisted at the Red Fort was more palpable among farmers from Haryana.

Kishan Kumar from Jhajjar district said, “Whatever happened was completely wrong. This is not a protest of a single religion. It is a protest of farmers, and the farmers’ flag should always be supreme. Routes should have been followed. This will create problems for our union leaders in future negotiations now.”