For a year, keeping the elements on hold, the farmers stood on the Tikri and Singhu border.

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Ravinder Saini

Tribune News Service

Jhajjar, 26 November

He braved the elements but did not lose his courage and stood at the borders of Tikri and Singhu, intent on bowing down to the center in front of his demand for repeal of the three agricultural laws.

Farmers of Punjab have been protesting at these places for the last one year. They occupied a similar area on National Highway-9 from Bahadurgarh bypass to Tikri and on National Highway-44 in Singhu after Delhi Police did not allow them to enter the capital on November 27 last year. Since then they have been camping there to take forward their movement.

“It was not easy for us to adjust to these circumstances but then we came with a resolve that we will not return without fulfilling our demands. Winter was approaching when we had camped at Tikri and Singhu a year ago. We had no option but to convert the trolleys into makeshift rooms to protect us from the cold,” says BKU (Rajewal) general secretary Pargat Singh.

He says that he faced severe cold but these people snatched many fellow protesters from him. Yet the movement continued with the same enthusiasm. Summer brought new problems like water scarcity, long power cuts, breeding of mosquitoes.

“We had to dig borewells and install RO systems to solve the problem of drinking water. Solar plates were used to get electricity, while a lot of money was spent to erect huts to protect themselves from the scorching heat. Several of our huts, both in Singhu and Tikri, caught fire during the night, forcing us to remain vigilant to keep anti-social elements away,” says Singh.

Another farmer leader, Purushottam Singh Gill, says that he also developed parks by picking up garbage, leveling the surface, planting saplings and putting up benches. Arrangements were made for air conditioners, coolers, fans and deep freezers. “We have to remain vigilant round the clock to thwart any conspiracy to stop our agitation,” he said.

Gurchant Singh of Faridkot says that the monsoon was no less than a disaster. “Rain flooded the protest sites on the borders of Delhi. We had sleepless nights while draining water or guarding our belongings, but adversity failed to lower our morale as we were here for a do or die fight.”

Questioning the intention of the district administration, Jaspreet Singh of Sangrur says that the administration has left no stone unturned to harass him. “Despite repeated requests, it failed to provide potable water, electricity and mobile toilets,” he says.