So far, men have been at the forefront of the farmers’ protests at the Singhu border. Hundreds of women farmers have now joined the protests in the last four days. They are determined to show support for their loved ones protesting and being harassed by the police. Most of them are saying that the emotional appeal made by BKU leader Rakesh Tikayat to the UP’s Gazipur border inspired them to join the protests.
Babli, 40, an agricultural laborer from Sangrur, Punjab, said she and my friends came to Singhu on Saturday after watching a video of Tikayat crying. She declared on the stage that the agitation against the three agrarian laws of the center would continue. A group of women farmers arrived at the Singhu border on Sunday, and held rallies at the protest site.
For most women, this is the first experience of taking part in any protest. They shouted slogans at the main stage. Helping the volunteers providing the security, the women took lathis in their hands. Sitting at the dining halls they discussed in detail their fears and concerns. Several women protesters said they had to walk 10 km to reach Singhu. Some said they had left their jobs in the fields to join the movement. Bubli said, “the police cannot treat us like animals. My husband was part of the tractor parade on Republic Day. He was beaten by police outside the Singhu border. He did not go to Delhi. He was not part of the group that hoisted the flag.”
Bubli and her friends noted, “Tikayat was harassed by police in Gazipur. It’s a shame for us. We are being targeted. I’m staying here with my friends. My mother is taking care of my children. We will protest by cooking for the protesters.”
Dalbir Kaur, 47, a farmer from Patiala, came to the Singhu protest site with her uncle and aunt on Saturday evening. After hearing speeches from the leaders of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Kaur noted, “we came to Singhu,” and further explained that her husband has been protesting for about two months. “We grow sugar cane and vegetables. Yesterday, I came here with my sons. We grabbed posters and marched around the stage. I have to leave tomorrow. I am ready to sacrifice my life for this movement. The police and the government may harass us, but we will not rest until we win, ”said Kaur.
Dalbir Kaur and a group of ten women shouted slogans against police brutality and new agricultural laws. Another woman farmer, Mandeep, 50, said she had come to help the farmers who were injured in the Republic Day violence. She said, “I was shocked to learn that many of my farmer brothers in Kapurthala were severely injured. I came with my husband because we both wanted to help the farmers. We respect Tikayatji. We will protest here until new laws are repealed. The police can record cases and call us terrorists. We fight with them. We will not leave,” she said.
First published in naanugauri.com translated by Yogesh S