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DELHI

Heat and harvest result in dwindling protesters in Delhi borders

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Queues at langars for food has thinned at the Ghazipur border protest site as most of the protesters have left to their villages for harvesting work at their farms after the farmers’ leaders went to poll-bound States for campaigning.

Gurnam Singh, who works at a langar, said they only prepare food for around one hundred people during breakfast. “Less number of takers and shortage of storage capacity of cooked food are the two reasons for preparing less food. We can’t hold cooked food for long during this season. Around a month ago, they used to prepare food for around 350 people during single shift. It is just a routine thing as protesters will come back after harvesting season,” said Mr. Gurnam.

There are more than 15 functional langars at the Ghazipur protest site preparing food, apart from snacks and tea, in three shifts.

Still strong

Manpreet Chaudhary, a protester said that the crowd will come back when their leader Rakesh Tikait, who is busy strengthening their movement in other States, returns. “Around 500 protesters are still at the Ghazipur protest site at any time of the day. Farmers haven’t called off their protest; they have just gone home for harvesting and other household work. More than 10,000 farmers are on standby and will march to Delhi in case of an emergency,” Manpreet said.

The remaining protesters have shifted to under the flyover during day time to beat the heat. They said they will also construct mud house or pucca house like the one in Singhu and Tikri border after Rakesh Tikait returns from West Bengal.

“Due to the hot weather there are just a few protesters at the main stage. The crowd swells during morning and evening when temperature is moderate. We have placed drinking water coolers at several points. To avoid protesters falling sick, we have maintained rotation of people at the site,” said Gopal Singh, a farmer.

No shortage

Protesters said there is no shortage of supplies but they can’t stay away from farms for a lengthy spell. After harvesting rabi crops, they have to prepare their farms, which is a long process and requires a lot of human involvement and expertise.

“We have to maintain a balance between protest and farms. If they leave farms for protest then what will we eat and how will we earn. It is a cycle that we have to take care. We support farmers’ protest and demand repeal of laws but can’t afford to ignore our farms,” said Hanuman Rathi, a farmer.

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