Farmers Protests- A test of People’s Power vs State Power

farmers protest 1

After the anti CAA protest at Saheen Bagah in Delhi, the farmers protest is the second protest in Delhi that is currently underway in 2020. Thousands of farmers from Haryana and Punjab have marched towards Delhi to press the central government to repeal the recently enacted farm laws.

They are stopped at Haryana Delhi border by the Delhi police using water cannons and lathi charge and are dissuaded from entering the national capital. But undeterred, the farmers 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 anti CAA protest at Saheen Bagah that erupted in a big way in January and February was of similar nature. Then the protests were held in a peaceful manner and was sustained by community leadership in which farmers from Punjab 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, Coronavirus alarm and the national lockdown.

Now it remains to be seen, how the farmers protest may play itself out in the current situation.  The news amid the farmers’ protest 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 mosques and the organizers have shared their number to farmers to contact them for free delivery of food. The organizers plan to do this activity as long as the situation demands.

It may be recalled that during anti-CAA-NRC in Delhi farmers from Punjab came to Delhi and stood by the side of the protestors running the community kitchen to sustain the protest. Now it looks that the anti – CAA protestors want to pay back the famers by serving them with food that they did so months ago.

It remains to be seen how the BJP government responds to the farmers’ protest.  Will they call the farmers for talks or continue to ignore them as they did to the anti- CAA protesters at Saheen 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 protestors? Everyone remembers his warning in which he wanted to clear the anti-CAA protests. His role in Delhi communal riots that targeted the Muslims. Will this BJP leader organize 1984 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’ protest on the border and storm the national capital to press for their demands jointly.

If all this happens will the government allow it or try a Tiananmen Square solution that remains to be seen?  As all this happens how the media is 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 farms protest is a test of people’s power vs state power.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at [email protected]



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