The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee appealed to farmers to assemble in large numbers at the Delhi borders a day before for the proposed parade on Republic Day.
It comes a day after the farmer unions announced that they would not appear before the committee formed by the Supreme Court to resolve the deadlock over the contentious farm laws.
While eight rounds of negotiations so far between the government and a representative-group of thousands of farmers protesting against the three farm laws have failed to resolve the crisis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three Acts till further orders and set up a four-member committee to end the impasse.
One lakh copies of the three agri laws were burnt at the Singhu border alone on Wednesday, claimed Paramjeet Singh of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
Lohri is widely celebrated in Punjab and Haryana to mark the harvesting of Rabi crops. People traditionally celebrate it by circling around bonfires, throwing food items — peanuts, puffed rice, popcorn, etc. — into the fire, singing folk songs, dancing and feasting on the festive food.
“The celebrations can wait. We will celebrate all these festivals the day our demand for repeal of these black laws are met by the Centre,” said 65-year-old Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who hails from Haryana’s Karnal district.
Several bonfires were lit at the Delhi-Haryana border stretch, the nerve centre of the farmers’ agitation. The protesting farmers raised slogans, sang songs of resistance and hope as they orbited the bonfire, burning copies of farm laws and praying for the success of their protest.
“This Lohri is filled with struggle,” said Rajbir Singh, a 34-year-old farmer from Punjab’s Barnala district. “It is minus the fun, the song and the dance we used to have back home on Lohri. But I am happy to be here and celebrate it with my family of farmers this time.”
“Today, we have burnt the copies, tomorrow the Centre will burn them. They have to, we will make them do it,” he added.
Many farmer leaders, including Yogendra Yadav and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, also threw copies of the farm laws into the bonfire, created on the premises of the movement’s office.
In a statement, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee said that it has appealed to all districts around Delhi to make massive mobilisation for the Tractor Parade in the national capital on Republic Day.
“All should assemble at the borders a day before for the parade,” it stated.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at several Delhi border points, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee of minimum support price for their crops.
Enacted in September last year, the three 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 the MSP and do away with the “mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.