Navpreet Kaur, New Delhi
Read in GurmukhiAfter the Maha Panchayats in Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Shamli and many other places in western Uttar Pradesh, a huge number of farmers are joining the Delhi Kisan Andolan. Some large groups of farmers are all set to join the movement. Along with farmers, the participation of laborers on the Gazipur border is also increasing. By the evening of January 28, the situation remained tense for a few hours due to the notice to remove the protestors from Ghazipur Border after Palwal and the announcement of surrender by Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson of Bha-Ki-U(Bharti Kisan Union). However, in the evening after the arrival of Lony’s MLA and some people at the protest site, he declared that he would not back down from the agitation and decided to continue the agitation by a joint committee of farmers' organizations in Ghazipur. Along with this, the media coverage of Tikait's emotional speech reached every house, which re-established the movement.
Two major changes occurred in the movement from January 26 to 28. The first is the determination of the peasants (mainly the youth) to keep the protest peaceful and the second is that the movement has emerged as a nationwide movement, contrary to the continuous attempts to label the movement as anti-national by calling it Punjabis’ or Sikhs’.
Another change is in the count of women here. There was an average of 750 to 1,000 women as of January 26, there has been a sharp decline in these numbers since January 26. Ravneet Kaur , a second year law student, says that before January 26, there were a large number of women there, who were provided with separate living, toilet and store facilities and lived in tents. Ravneet Kaur helps people as a female volunteer. Ravneet says that on January 18, on the occasion of Women’s Farmers' Day, women from different states of the country came to the Gazipur border to participate. There was a feeling of excitement, enthusiasm and struggle among the women. Some of these women even came with the organizations. But there were also a large number of women who joined a movement for the first time, and most of these first-time women came either in a group with their family or with other women. Regarding the decline in the number of women after January 28, Ravneet said that from January 26 to January 28, women were asked by their families to return due to security reasons. Ravneet believes(admits) that women's participation is important as these farming laws will affect their livelihood. Despite the revival of this movement, women have not yet rejoined it in the same way.According to Ravneet's estimates, there are only five to six women living on the Ghazipur border now and about 100 to 150 women come from villages around Delhi and return home in the evening. On January 26, the women here (and everyone else too) were very excited about their participation in the protest march, but due to confusion some people moved to Delhi instead of the planned route. Ravneet said that there was no decision to go on the Delhi route, but the confusion about the designated route changed the objective of the January 26 tractor parade.
Although the number of women is still low, it is expected that in the coming days, not only will their numbers increase, but they will also join the leadership of the movement.