NEW DELHI: More than a year after they arrived in large convoys of tractors, several protesting farmers on Saturday morning began returning to their home states, taking with them a victory to cherish and memories of a successful siege at Delhi’s borders.
The farmers lifted blockades on highways at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders and took out a ‘Victory March’ to celebrate the repeal of three contentious farm laws and the Centre’s written assurance to fulfil their other demands, including constituting a committee for legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) for crops.
Emotions ran high as the farmers set off for their homes in different states, including Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, after a successful movement.
Tractors bedecked with colourful lights rolled out of the protest sites blaring songs of victory while the elderly flaunted their colourful turbans and danced with youngsters.
“Singhu border had become our home for the last one year. This movement united us (farmers) all as we fought together against the black farm laws irrespective of caste, creed and religion. This is a historic moment and the victorious result of the movement is even bigger,” said Kuljeet Singh Aulakh, a farmer from Moga in Punjab, as he embraced his fellow farmers before starting his journey back home.
Jitender Chaudhary, a farmer at Ghazipur border, was busy preparing his tractor-trolley to go back home in Muzaffarnagar of western Uttar Pradesh.
He said that he is going home with hundreds of good memories and victory against the “black” farm laws.
“We are fortunate that we participated in a historic movement against the three farm laws imposed on us by the central government. We have made new friends and gained a different experience here during the agitation,” Chaudhary said.
The farmers are celebrating December 11 as ‘Vijay Diwas’.
Thousands of farmers had been protesting at the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year to demand the repeal of the three farm laws.
On November 29, a bill was passed in Parliament to repeal the laws, one of the main demands of the farmers.
However, the farmers refused to end their protest, demanding that the government fulfil their other demands that included legal guarantee on MSP and withdrawal of police cases against them.
As the Centre accepted the pending demands, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions spearheading the stir, on Thursday decided to suspend the farmers’ movement and announced that farmers will go back home on December 11 from the protest sites at Delhi borders.
Farmer leaders said that they will again meet on January 15 to see if the government has fulfilled their demands.
Parliament passed a bill on November 29 to repeal the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.