Farmers’ Protests: A Test of People’s Power Vs State Power


Farmers en route to Delhi protest at a road block on the Delhi-Haryana border crossing in Singhu, Delhi on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

During the long-drawn anti-CAA-NRC agitation in Delhi, farmers from Punjab had come to Delhi and stood by the side of the protesters by running community kitchens

Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India

After the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, the ongoing farmers’ stir is the second major anti-government agitation in Delhi this year. Thousands of farmers from Haryana and Punjab have marched towards Delhi to press the Central government for repealing the recently-enacted farm laws.

They are stopped at the Haryana-Delhi border by the Delhi police using water cannons and cane-charge to dissuade the ryots from entering the national capital. But undeterred, the sons of the soil have not stopped their march and have vowed to continue their agitation on the Delhi border, unless the government scraps the farm laws.

Remember the similar anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh that erupted in a big way in January and February? Then, the protests were held in a peaceful manner and were sustained by community leadership in which farmers from Punjab also had some role to play.  The anti-CAA protests abruptly ended without accomplishing the goal to force the government to roll back the citizenship laws. This was due to Delhi riots, the coronavirus alarm and the subsequent national lockdown.

Now it remains to be seen how the farmers’ movement plays itself out in the current situation. The news amid the farmers’ protests is that some mosques in Delhi have opened community kitchens to provide food to the agitating farmers arriving from Punjab and other states.

These food kitchens are set up in Delhi’s mosques and the organisers have shared their phone numbers to farmers to contact them for free delivery of food. The organisers plan to do this activity as long as the situation demands.

Well, during the long-drawn anti-CAA-NRC agitation in Delhi, farmers from Punjab had come to Delhi and stood by the side of the protesters by running community kitchens to sustain the protest. Now it looks that the anti–CAA protesters want to pay back the farmers by serving them with food the way the latter did months ago.

It remains to be seen how the BJP government responds to the farmers’ protests.  Will they call the farmers for talks or continue to ignore them as they did to the anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh?. Will the government use strong-arm tactics to clear the protesters as they did in the last stage of the anti-CAA protests?

What will be the role of BJP leader Kapil Mishra in removing the protesting farmers? Everyone remembers his warning in which he wanted to clear the roads of the anti-CAA protesters. His role in the February Delhi communal riots targeted the Muslims. Will this BJP leader organise a 1984-like programme against the farmer’s majority, the protesters being the Sikhs?

Will the anti-CAA protesters spring up again in Delhi and join the farmers’ protests on the border and storm the national capital to press for the ryots’ demands jointly?

If all this happens, whether or not the government will allow it or try a Tiananmen Square solution remains to be seen. As all this happens, how is the media going to report this story? Will it side with the protesters or make them doing acts of sedition?

This is a powerful situation that is building on the borders of the national capital. At the heart of the farmers’ protests is a test of people’s power versus State power.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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