Farmers Protest: Demolishing Barricades

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 338

Toll 650

Demolishing Barricades

Yesterday morning news that police was demolishing barricades at Tikri-Bahadurgarh, Ghazipur, Singhu, gave rise to some questions in my mind. Why now? Why at this point? Is it solely on Supreme Court orders? Each of the three morchas, and Shahjahanpur as well, are very different from each other in character, formation and even physical organisation. How wise is it for administration to carry out the same move at all places? Finally, what is hidden here because, you see, with this government and its administration there is always an ulterior move.

To recap: barricades on the protest sites came up last November 27 when farmers were advancing towards Delhi. Farmers had broken barricades in Haryana and reached Delhi to go to Ramlila grounds. When government had instead offered the Burari ground, the farmers had refused it because it was an enclosure. They knew para-military could surround them and snap their life lines to Haryana, Panjab, west Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand and so on. They decided to camp on the roads to Delhi.

In the absence of conscience in the government, the only way a non-violent protest can succeed is if it cuts the government life lines. The farmers occupied one side of the roads at all sites. The locals at all sites cooperated. Of course, no one imagined the protests will last 11 months. Plus, after January 26th, the police reinforced the barricades with concrete walls, concertina wires, even nails on ground. The question is who was the barricades for? Farmers were camped. Delhi folks used to visit, which they stopped. Farmers had kept roads open for locals but now locals were blocked.

The locals have been cooperating throughout these 11 months. Some random folks, from Noida, have been petitioning the courts. Notice, Noida route is not even blocked. Courts have held that farmers have a right to protest but road blocks are not right. Farmers understand this and have maintained that it is police, not them, who has barricaded the whole road. Once up, the barricades have served as a line between farmers and administration. While on the state site police is reinforced; on the other side of the barricades, the farmers have set up their tents, langars and so on. The barricades also serve as a no mans land. While all protests are manned day and night by volunteers against miscreants, the barricades serve as a bit of an assurance that unless it is administration’s design, police won’t allow miscreants to infiltrate.

Now suddenly, after a ghastly accident two days back in which three women were crushed by a dumper truck, yesterday the police suddenly decided to demolish the barricades. Ghazipur welcomed the move to open the road under the flyover. Singhu welcomed the move because they had earlier also opened one side of the road during the pandemic oxygen crises. At Tikri-Bahadurgarh the farmer leaders asked for some time from administration to cooperate with administration and vacate the side of the road they want to open. In a meeting, yesterday afternoon, administration agreed to wait until after a farmers’ meeting on November 6th.

Yet, last night, around 8.35 pm, administration suddenly pressed JCBs into action to fully demolish the multi-level barricades at Tikri. BKU Dakaunda leader Buta Singh Burj Gill was on the spot. He and some other farmers lay down on the road to stop the JCBs. Soon, more farmers came and the administration move failed. The farmers held a night vigil.

Even demolishing barricades has turned into a nasty game. The government’s intention has turned suspicious. Certainly, the government and its administration is not interested in the locals. What psychological game does it intend to play by removing barricades? Does it want to provoke protesters? Does it want to incite and stir the protests so cadre starts demanding a march to Delhi? Then use that as an alibi for armed action.

Pictures: Internet and Kisan Morcha

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