Convoys of tractor trolleys bedecked with flowers and playing ‘victory songs’ on Saturday rolled out of the Singhu protest site, as farmers head home after over a year of agitation at the Delhi-Haryana border, which for many had become home.
Before bidding farewell to Singhu, some farmers performed ‘havans’ and sang ‘kirtans’, and some danced to ‘bhangra’ songs to mark the day as ‘Vijay Diwas’.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, had gathered here in large numbers on November 26 last year to protest against three central farm laws and demand their withdrawal.
The laws were repealed last month by Parliament and after the government also conceded to other demands of the farmers, including a panel for legal guarantee on MSP, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Thursday announced suspension of the protest.
Emotions ran high, as farmers hugged and congratulated each other on the success of their movement, and also promised to keep bonds forged during the past year intact.
“It is an emotional moment for us. We never thought it will be this hard to go back home as we have established a deep connection with the people and the place. This agitation will be in our memories forever,” said Gurvinder Singh from Ambala as he prepared to leave Singhu, the epicentre of the protest and one of the three agitation sites, Tikri and Ghazipur being the others, on Delhi’s borders.
While some farmers gathered at a petrol pump near the KFC tower at the Singhu border and performed ‘kirtan’ and offered prayers, others were seen dismantling tents and helping in loading them on to tractor trolleys.
“It is the blessing of Guru Sahib that we were successful in forcing the government to repeal the three black farm laws. So, we are performing ‘kirtan’ to thank the almighty and seek his blessings,” Harjit Kaur, 60, from Bhatinda said.
Barely a few hundred metres away, a group of youngsters from Punjab celebrated the “victory
over the farm laws” and danced to tunes of ‘bhangra’ and Punjabi songs.
Amid blaring music and revving of tractor engines, gatherings were also seen at ‘langars’ which served breakfast to the returning demonstrators.
“Probably it is our last breakfast here at the Singhu border in a langar. We will miss this place terribly,” Sarendra Singh, 24, from Sangrur said as he took a bite of a bread pakora served in the ‘langar’.
There was thin police presence at the Singhu Border and those present there looked relaxed.
“We have been doing our duties diligently. The end of the protest will surely bring relief for commuters and locals,” a police official, who did not wish to be named, said.
On November 29, a bill was passed in Parliament to repeal the laws, one of the main demands of the farmers.
However, the farmers refused to end their protest, demanding that the government fulfil their other demands that included legal guarantee on MSP and withdrawal of police cases against them.
As the Centre accepted the pending demands, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions spearheading the stir, suspended the farmers’ movement.
The bill was passed to repeal the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.