21 protesters missing since Republic Day, say farmer unions


Organisations gear up for road blockade on February 6.

Farmer unions spearheading the agitation on the three farm laws on Thursday claimed that 21 protesters were still missing since the Republic Day tractor rally violence, and cases had been registered against 125 farmers so far.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmer unions, in a press statement said that the information compiled by them had put the number of missing persons at 21, and First Information Reports had been registered against 125 farmers. Legal help desks have been set up on every border actions was constantly being taken in relation to all these cases, it said.

The SKM also reiterated the demand for the immediate reinstatement of Internet services disrupted by the government. “The government’s efforts to suppress the voice of disagreement continue. Along with the agitating farmers, media persons and local people are facing a lot of trouble due to Internet ban. Especially students are facing a big problem as their exams are coming soon. On one side the government propagates the plans like Digital India, but on the other hand, the people of the country are being deprived of the Internet,” said the press statement.

 

The SKM said the movement was receiving continuous support from the nation and the world, and that it was “shameful the government wanted to suppress it by calling it an internal matter”. Those who were showing solidarity with the farmers were being trolled on social media, which was condemnable, read the statement.

The joint front reiterated that the movement was apolitical, and though the support of political parties and leaders was welcome, they would not be allowed to use the SKM’s platform. A delegation of the SKM also paid tribute to farmer Navreet Singh, who was killed on January 26.

Various farm organisations are gearing up their efforts jointly and individually to ensure the success of the nationwide road block planned for February 6. Haryana Kisan Sabha vice-president Inderjit Singh said the farmers would appeal to people to not travel between 12 noon and 3 p.m. on February 6, and express solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ struggle. He clarified that ambulances, women in labour, serious patients and any other emergency vehicles would be facilitated during the road block.

Joint committees had been formed to mobilise people at toll plazas and other centres of protest. “The call has been given to register a strong protest against the conspiracy hatched by the Centre to defame the peaceful farmers’ movement by engineering violence on Republic Day. The SKM has decided to expose the disruptive game of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) to the people while mobilising the farmers,” said Mr. Singh.

The ANI quoted BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait as saying that the “chakka jam” (road blockade) will not take place in Delhi and those stuck in it would be given food and water. Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav said the blockade would be laid only on National and State Highways and for only three hours.

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