Chandigarh: When 42-year-old Harnek Singh, a farmer from Retgarh village in Punjab, planned his son Jashanjeet’s marriage, he wanted to give it a meaningful twist.
When Jashanjeet got married on Monday, instead of singing the traditional ‘ghori’ songs, his family held flags of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and shouted slogans against the BJP-led central government for bringing in three controversial farm laws.
“We want to show to PM Narendra Modi that we are fighting a 24×7 battle against his Farm Acts and we have not forgotten the pain even during one of the happiest times in our life. If the government was so serious about safeguarding our interests, why has it not ensured MSP in the new farm legislation?” Harnek Singh told HuffPost India over the phone.
Farmers in Punjab have been protesting against the central government since September, when Parliament passed three farm laws—Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. The Modi government didn’t back down even after ally Shiromani Akali Dal walked out of the National Democratic Alliance in protest.
Protesters say that since the majority of the farmers in Punjab have small landholdings of 2-5 acres and cannot afford to transport their crops even outside their own village, the new legislation will force them to sell their crops as per the buyers’ will.
They have also demanded that if the government wants to enforce the farm legislation in agrarian states like Punjab and Haryana, it should ensure MSP for all the crops.
Speaking to HuffPost India, Harnek Singh said that nothing could have been more auspicious than protesting and shouting slogans to safeguard farmers’ rights.
“My son is a farmer’s son and hence welcomed the move in his marriage. Our relatives also supported us by shouting slogans in our favour,” said Singh.
This is not the first time that farmers have raised slogans against the Modi government during wedding processions. On October 23, another farmer, Yadvinder Singh from village Karancho, also raised slogans and protested during his marriage against the farm laws.
Earlier this month, HuffPost India reported how the central government has choking Punjab by suspending the railway services in the state. Despite farmers clearing the railway tracks, the government has not resumed services of goods trains, causing huge losses to the local industry.
Many farmers like Harnek Singh have taken a pledge to continue their stir against the farm laws until the government takes it back.
“Today, I have to be at home to perform some rituals with the newlyweds. But tomorrow again I, along with my son, will join back protests against the farm laws in our area,” he said.