Who Feeds the Farmers? Delhi Activists Prepare and Distribute Food to Hundreds of Protesters
Agitating farmers being given food by members of United Against Hate on Friday night | Image credit: UAH
On Friday night, hundreds of injured, cold and hungry farmers reached the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana where they were met with heavy police deployment and no provisions for food or water.
- Last Updated: November 28, 2020, 12:18 IST
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New Delhi: The night was cold and many of the farmers were injured and wet. After facing two days of fierce protests, tear gas shells, water cannons, and police lathis, the protesting farmers of Punjab and Haryana finally got permission to enter Delhi on Friday evening. But all had not been won. By the time the hundreds of farmers reached the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana, another problem stared them in their stomachs - hunger.
"Many of us had not had a grain to eat since the protests began. It is ironic that we farmers who grow food for the whole country to eat were not given any food or provisions and treated like criminals," Mohan, a farmer from Haryana who was one of the hundreds gathered at Singhu border tells News18.
The irony was not missed by observers and activists. And for some, it meant a call to action. Late on Friday night, a group of people reached Singhu border with cartons of packets containing rice, dal, and sabji.
Food for Thought
Shariqu Husein, a Delhi-based activist who works with a campaign called United Against Hate, was one of the first persons from his collective to reach Singhu border and he found the place to be in pandemonium. Shariq and other members of the group had been campaigning to raise supplies and funds to provide provisions like food, water bottles, and medical aid to the farmers.
When the activist reached Singhu, the scene was dystopic. "There was heavy security deployment. And farmers were left to fend for themselves in the cold on the street. Many had nothing but a light shawl to keep them warm," Shariq says.
The activist says that he and his team members were not allowed to cross the border. "We tried our best to hand out food to as many farmers who had managed to enter Delhi. But many were stuck on the other side and police did not let us help them," Shariq says.
Speaking to News18 earlier in the day, Shariq had said that members of the group had contributed at their own personal levels and made sure that there was enough rice and dal as well as vegetables to feed at least a few of the farmers. By the time the farmers arrived in Singhu, the group had managed to prepare food for hundreds.
Food was prepared at Jamia Nagar in Delhi. (Image credit: UAH)
What do the farmers want?
Anger against the three central farming legislations has been growing since September in states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. On November 25, thousands of farmers started marching to Delhi with the aim of challenging the farm laws and seek demand that either the government repeal all three laws or formulate a new law to introduce Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops.
"We feel they are fighting for genuine issues and rather than focussing on divisive agenda of hate, these real issues of the masses should be foregrounded," UAH member Banojyotsna Lahiri, tells News18.
"United against hate stood by the farmer's march in 2019 too and we have done the same now. We appealed to local people who donated the material for free in solidarity with the farmers. Volunteers of UAH cooked and distributed the food," she says.
She confirms that the group had managed to serve food to nearly 500 protesters at Singhu border on Friday night and planned to provide further support and aid.
According to reports, the farmers have no been given permission to protest at Burari protest ground in Delhi and provisions are being set up for the same amid heavy security.