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With Protests Behind Them, ‘Triumphant’ Farmers Start Returning Home

Farmers leave the protest site in Singhu, on the outskirts of New Delhi, on Saturday. — Wasim Sarvar/IANS 

Hundreds of tractors are queued up at Delhi borders to take the farmers back home.

NEW DELHI — Tikri and Ghazipur borders of Delhi on Saturday witnessed the end of a long protest as farmers who have been camping in the national capital for over a year started heading back homes in a busy manner celebrating their success of repeal of the farm laws.

Farmers were seen packing their bags and moving in tractors used in their fields — which they have been using for commuting and protesting. They hugged each other and bade good bye. Some were seen distributing sweets and rejoicing with dancing steps. Their makeshift homes were dismantled almost 15 months after farmers’ agitation began against the (now scrapped) farm laws and other issues.

The majority of the farmers will start returning to their villages in Punjab from the Singhu and Tikri borders, which they made their homes since November last year. Hundreds of tractors are queued up at Delhi borders to take the farmers back home.

While the farmers have started dismantling the tents, some have already left for their villages after the government on Thursday sent a letter promising to meet the demands.

Some elderly farmers were seen cleaning the place where they had set up tents. The roads are also being cleared of things to make it look like what it was before the agitation. It may take days to completely vacate the entire border area as the protesters are large in numbers. However, the trafffic slowly started to resume at Singhu border as hundreds of tractors carrying farmers left the site.

A farmer, Rohi Singh from Bhatinda told IANS that they were not totally satisfied with the way government treated the farmers, on one hand we say “Jai jawan, Jai kisan” on the other, the government is totally against the farmers. He also said that they feel sad for 700 farmers who lost their lives during the protest.

Barricades are still in place but once the protesters completely vacate, police said, they will take charge of the place. The entire area that changed due to the protests over a long period, is set to start regular activities and mixed reactions have been seen by the locals.

A shopkeeper named Yash Verma said, he has a shop of electrical appliances, but his customers have been facing hardships as the way to his shop was diverted due to the protest. He has been facing a forty per cent loss in sales as most of the areas or the routes were closed due to which the customers found troublesome to reach the shop, Verma said.

Akhilesh Kumar, a textile owner also lamented the problems he faced due to less customers after the protest began. He said, earlier, one could reach in 30 minutes to his shop from the main road but now it will take one hour and he also complained that he could not get the new collections as distributors found it difficult to reach his shop.

He added that some customers were scared about the situation and didn’t find it safe enough to reach his shop. Two days back, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions that led the protest, had said that it has suspended the agitation after receiving positive assurances from the government on their demands, adding that the borders of Delhi will be cleared by Saturday. The SKM also said that it would hold a review meeting on January 15.

The agitation continued even after the three farm laws — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 — were repealed by the Parliament, as the farmers’ stuck to their demands with legal backing for minimum support price (MSP) for all farmers being the prime demand. — IANS

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