By Ananya Bhatnagar (IANS) Fifteen days into their agitation farmers say it is too late for the amendments, if the government really wanted they should have had the dialogue in September when they first embarked on their protests across Punjab.
They slam any insinuation towards a foreign hand. The “innumerable force” at the Delhi’s border will turn into a worldwide agitation if need be. “Those who say China and Pakistan is running this movement, I want to ask them, the UN is supporting us, is the UN also run by China and Pakistan?” say Baldev Singh Sirsa to IANS in an exclusive chat.
Farmer leaders have called the several rounds of talks and proposal thereafter as nothing new — what they are asking the government to do is “talk straight and walk the talk”.
If government has accepted that there is a fault in the legislation, then there is only one way out — roll back.
As the farmer unions rejected the Centre’s proposal and decided to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway, going forward Sirsa, a senior farmer leader from Punjab apologised to the people of Delhi saying, “Hum Bebas Aur Majboor hai, Aapke Saath Hamari Poori Sahanubhuti Hai (We are sympathetic towards Delhities but we are ourselves helpless and compelled).
Here are the excerpts:
Q: Since you have already rejected the proposal extended by the Central government, what is the further plan of action
A: Our plan of action is very clear, we had started protesting peacefully, carried it out peacefully and the same would continue in the future as well.
As far as the plan of action is concerned, we have given a call of Aao Dilli Chalo Dilli, under which, we will block the Delhi-Jaipur Highway by December 12th, while on December 14th protest would begin at district complexes pan India as those who cannot reach Delhi would protest from where they are.
Apart from this, we would boycott all products of Reliance including Jio, Malls and Petrol Pumps. We would also be carrying out Gherao of the houses of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers across the nation.
Q: The government sent a long proposal addressing all your issues as the law has already been made amendments are the only way forward, what is your take on this?
A: It’s too late for the amendments now, if the government really wanted to do so they should have called us in September when we were sitting on protests in Punjab. Why are they proposing amendments now?
The proposal they sent yesterday had nothing new, on 8th, we had clarified in the meeting with the Home Minister that the answer on taking back the laws shall be in simple “yes” or “no”. The time for the amendments has passed long back, now the government shall talk straight. When you (government) have accepted that there is a fault in the laws, they should answer in simple yes or no.
Q: How many more people are coming in to join the protest, if an estimate could be given?
A: Numbers? It is uncountable, this is not remained a national agitation, it has now turned into a worldwide agitation. Those who say China and Pakistan is running this movement, I want to ask them, the United Nations is supporting us, is the UN run by China and Pakistan?
Those who think this way, shall be admitted to mental hospitals.
Q: Since the future plan is to block the Delhi-Jaipur Highway, what would you say to the people of Delhi who might face problems because of this?
A: We are empathetic towards the people of Delhi and all those people who are or would be facing problems due to our agitation but we are helpless (bebas) and compelled (majboor) on our end too because the demands we are fighting for today would have an integral role in the future.
I would like to apologize to the people of Delhi that they would face problems due to this agitation but there is no other way else it would lead us to dangerous times.
Q: How are you people taking care of those who are old in age and might get sick due to cold and Covid-19?
A: Our brothers from across the nation are disturbing dry fruits, medical camps are already in place to address the medical issues, blankets etc.
(Ananya Bhatnagar can be reached at [email protected])