The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions, has decided to observe 26 May as ‘black day’ to mark six months since they started protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws on the Delhi borders. “On 26 May, we will complete six months of this protest and it also happens to mark seven years since PM Modi formed the government. We will observe it as black day,” said farmers leader Balbir Singh Rajewal in a virtual press conference.
A large number of farmers reached Delhi’s borders on November 26 after facing water cannons and police barriers as part of their “Delhi Chalo” march against the Centre’s farm laws. Thousands of farmers from across the country joined the protest in the following months at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders around the national capital.
Days after the alleged sexual assault of a woman activist at Tikri border protest site, who later died due to Covid-19 at a private hospital in Haryana, the SKM said that it will soon announce names of its “Mahila Suraksha Samitis”. SKM will announce names of its Mahila Suraksha Samitis at all border protest sites which will look into measures to ensure safety and security of women participating in the movement.
The farmers leader appealed to people to support the call for observing ‘black day’ on May 26. “We appeal to people of the country and also Punjab to hang black flags at their house, shops, trucks and other vehicles. We will also burn effigies of (PM) Narendra Modi as a form of protest,” he added.
The government has not heard the farmers demands to repeal the three farm laws and with increasing prices of fertilisers, diesel and petrol, the farming business is not possible. Hundreds of farmers have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November 2020 demanding that the Farmers” Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers” (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee minimum support price for crops.
However, the government, which has held multiple rounds of formal dialogue with the protestors, has maintained that the laws will not be withdrawn.