Celebrations break out as Punjab, Haryana farmers head home after ‘victory’ of their protests
Chandigarh, Dec. 11 (PTI): Farmers from Punjab and Haryana were on Saturday accorded a rousing welcome with sweets and garlands, and showered with flower petals from an aircraft on their return journey for the “victory” of their protest against the central farm laws which were later repealed.
Families of farmers along with fellow villagers at many places on the Delhi-Karnal-Ambala and Delhi-Hisar national highways along with other state highways enroute honoured the peasants coming in tractor trolleys with garlands, ‘ladoos’, ‘barfi’ and other sweets.
The supporters of the farmers’ agitation carried flags of various farmer bodies and showered petals on the peasants as they assembled on the roadside of the highways to welcome them.
National Highway Authority of India project director (Haryana) Virender Sharma said all the four toll plazas located between Chandigarh and Delhi will be functional within two to three days.
The farmers had staged ‘dharnas’ at the toll plazas, thereby not allowing them to function for over a year.
Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal was given a warm welcome at Shambhu border upon his return and he congratulated the farmers for their victory .
I congratulate all the Punjabis and the countrymen. A big battle has been won… Also thanks to those who supported it (agitation),” he told reporters.
We have won the ‘morcha’… the central government was forced to bow down, he said.
Rajewal also remembered the sacrifices of farmers in the fight against the Centre’s farm laws and paid tributes to them, adding that more than 700 farmers laid down their lives.
A small aircraft showered flower petals on a cavalcade of farmers when they reached near Punjab-Haryana border, Shambhu, said Ambala Bhartiya Kisan Union president Malkit Singh. The aircraft was stated to be arranged by a non-resident Indian.
A family came all the way from Chandigarh to welcome the farmers near Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border.
“We are elated and our happiness cannot be described in words. It (the victory) was the result of ‘tapasya’ (penance) of farmers who faced all sorts of hardships, including harsh weather conditions,” said a Chandigarh resident, who actively supported the farmers’ stir.
Because of the large convoy of tractor trolleys and other vehicles, vehicular traffic slowed down at many places on Delhi-Ambala and Delhi-Rohtak national highways.
The Haryana Police had made arrangements to ensure hassle-free movement of traffic on national highways in the state and additional personnel were put on duty for traffic management.
Some elated farmers, especially youth and women, performed folk dance ‘bhangra’ to the beats of ‘dhol’ as they headed home.
At Khanauri near Punjab, villagers assembled in large numbers to welcome the agitators and also burst firecrackers amid a celebratory mood.
We are returning victorious, said a farmer from Ludhiana.
Meanwhile, in Panipat, Muslim community members made food arrangements for the farmers who were enroute to their destinations from the Delhi borders.
A large convoy of tractor trolleys started returning to Punjab and Haryana in the morning after performing ‘ardas’ (prayer) at the Singhu border.
Farmers headed home after the suspension of the one-year-long agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws.
Tractors, decorated with flowers and colourful lights and sporting the national flag and the farmer bodies’ flags, were playing Punjabi victory and patriotic songs while frequent chants of Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal’ rent the air.
Tractor trolleys were carrying cots, mattresses, utensils and other belongings that the farmers had carried with them during the agitation.
Farmers from Punjab and Haryana even hugged each other and raised slogans of Punjab aur Haryana Bhaichara Zindabad . They said the brotherhood and bond between farmers of both the states has strengthened because of the protests.
Many farmers from Punjab have expressed their gratitude to the people of Haryana for extending support to them during the stir.
Near Bastara toll plaza in Karnal and Shambhu border near Ambala, an arrangement of ‘langar’ was made for farmers returning to their homes.
Notably, Shambhu inter-state border on the national highway was the place where the Haryana police had on November 26 last used water cannons and tear gas to prevent farmers from heading towards the national capital.
Meanwhile, two farmers from Punjab returning to their homes in Muktsar district from the Tikri border were killed, while another one was injured when the tractor trolley they were traveling in was hit by a truck from behind in Haryana’s Hisar district, police said.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions, had on Thursday decided to suspend the movement against the contentious farm laws and announced that farmers would go back home on December 11 from the protest sites on Delhi’s borders.