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‘Locked up our homes to protest’ — Women farmers take over Tikri site on Women’s Day

Wrapped in yellow dupattas, nearly 50,000 women arrived at Tikri border to register their support for the ongoing farmers protests’. They intend to stay a week.

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Bahadurgarh: To mark International Women’s Day Monday, thousands of women from Punjab and Haryana held demonstrations and participated in the ongoing farmers’ protests at Tikri border nearing Delhi.

According to farmer union Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan), around 50,000 women marked their presence at the protest site. Spokesperson of the organisation Sukhdev Singh told ThePrint they helped mobilise the women for Monday’s event.

Wrapped in yellow dupattas — the colour of the farmer union’s flag — the women arrived at the Delhi border in buses, tractors and trolleys. They delivered speeches and raised slogans against the Modi government while demanding the roll back of the contentious farm laws. 

‘Haryana-Punjab bhai bhai, mil ke ladaange apni ladai’ (Haryana and Punjab are brothers and are together in this fight), was among some of the slogans that were raised. 

“We are with our brothers in this fight. While we are here today, our brothers and husbands are taking care of the household chores,” said 67-year-old Bacchinder Kur, who arrived at the protest site with 45 other women of her village in Moga district. 

The women held a sit-in under a tent-like structure as speeches, plays and other events on a stage, erected just ahead, went on.

Also read: Farmers’ protests are the birth pangs of a more urbanised India

‘Here to stay’ 

Saroj Devi, from Kaithal district in Haryana, said, “Today we locked our homes and arrived here to register our equal support on the occasion of women’s day.”

She was accompanied by 300 other women from her village and is planning to stay for a few days. 

Manjeet Kaur, a protester from Barnala in Punjab, said, “Those who think women are lesser than men, should look at the number of women gathering here.”

“We are participating equally in this fight for our rights. We are here to stay,” she told ThePrint. 

Old and young — all present

Basant Kaur, 80, who arrived for the first time at the protest site from Mukhtasar, Punjab, said she came with other women of her village.

“I have come here to die for our future generations. I may die here, but I will not move until the laws are taken back,” she said.

“We ate rotis with pickles and drank sour lassi, (it was) then that we were able to buy land for farming. We are ready to give qurbani (sacrifice) for our rights. We will bring more villagers, and even our cattle. If we lose hope, what will our grandsons and granddaughters eat,” said 70-year-old Sukhwant Kaur from Mansa, Punjab. 

From Barnala, Kulbeer Kaur, who is in her 40s, said the preparations for this event started around a month ago. 

“We went door-to-door to mobilise women for today’s event. We arrived yesterday (Sunday) and are going to stay here for a week now,” she said.

Several teenage girls were also seen at the site along with their mothers and grandmothers. 

Manjali, 16, a native of Hisar in Haryana, who hails from a farmer’s family, says Modi ji should give them the right to sell their produce on their own terms.

“My classes are going on at school, but I have taken a leave to be here today,” she told ThePrint. 

The farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for more than 100 days now, demanding the repeal of the Modi government’s three farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops. 

The government has promised to put the laws on hold for 18 months and also held 11 rounds of talks with the farmers, but to no avail.

(Edited by Debalina Dey)

Also read: Modi once ruled political optics. Farmers’ protests now pose massive PR challenge


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