As farmers’ protests against the three new farm laws on the Delhi border begin on day 22, the stalemate between protesting farmers and the government seems to be heading towards a Shaheen Bagh-like deadlock. The three weeks of excitement among farmers have led the ruling BJP to schedule public gatherings across the country. The party takes a sheet of paper from its CAA playbook and has its senior ministers and leaders hold meetings with farmers groups to signal that the demand for the law to be repealed does not reflect the sentiment of national farmers.
The demonstrators say that more than 20 people have died in the past three weeks. The deceased, many of whom are from Punjab, died either of natural causes, allegedly made worse by the inclement weather, or in road accidents, protesters say. Farmers’ organizations in Singhu and Tikri say they are now preparing lists of these people to help their families and pushing for compensation. Meanwhile, family members of farmers who had been killed by suicide in Punjab over the years joined the ongoing protest at the Tikri border in Delhi. Some widows and mothers of the deceased farmers said they intend to stay on site for the duration of the protest.
In other news, a Sikh priest from a Gurdwara in the Karnal district of Haryana who was identified as Sant Baba Ram Singh, 65, shot himself on Wednesday in Kundli near the Singhu border, where farmers have been protesting for 20 days.
In an alleged suicide note, Singh, also known as Nanaksar Singhra Wale, said he was tormented by the plight of the farmers.
While Singh reportedly shot himself with his licensed revolver, Kundli Police Station SHO Ravi Kumar said they have yet to identify the weapon used. “His staff have told the police that he died of suicide. Our probe is on, ”he said.