It takes months to years to build a movement, but a few hours is enough time to break it. In such a time, a lot of responsibility rests on the movement’s leaders, from organizing the movement to making it successful.
The leaders of the Farmers Protest had learned a lot from the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
As soon as the Farmers Protest started, the farmers understood that before the government, they have to fight with the media to stop anti-social elements from breaking the protest and bring the government to its knees with peace and patience. But it is not necessary that what is understood can also be implemented.
For 61 days, the farmers stood in the field with peace and restraint, and it was a great success that for two months, a protest was kept completely under control, and a situation of “four mouths forty things” was not allowed. Continuation of protest is more complicated than the construction of a protest.
The ‘management power’ of the leaders of the Farmers protest was great, but on the 62nd day, the matter went awry.
Even after 11 rounds of talks with the government, when the solution did not appear, the farmer leaders decided to organize a ‘Kisan parade’ on Republic Day.
After many rounds of talks with the Delhi Police, the farmers were allowed to take out the parade under a fixed route. The leaders of 42 organizations under the banner of the United Farmers’ Front had made all arrangements to organize the parade. Still, Satnam Singh Pannu (Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti) did not agree with them.
Pannu’s organization had already announced that “they will enter Delhi“, and the same happened. The Home Ministry had warned the security agencies by issuing an advisory, but the system of security agencies remained low.
The parade, which was to begin at ten o’clock, was started by Pannu’s organization at seven o’clock on the Singhu border and proceeded towards ITO, moving out of the fixed route.
The protesters started to break the barricades. In such a situation, the farmers who had to go under the prescribed route followed the way of Pannu’s organization. Tear gas shells were fired from the police and lathi-charged, but the situation did not come under control.
Probably not much power was given to the police because the government was well aware of the incident of Mandsaur. Reports of stone-pelting and collision were coming from Ghazipur and Tikri border also. But the situation on the Singhu border deteriorated to an extreme extent.
Farmer leaders kept explaining to the farmers, but the farmers did not listen. After exhausting, the Farmer leaders stayed behind, and a large batch of farmers reached the Red Fort. The police looked quite restrained and patient, but the farmers were looking fierce.
Climbing the Red Fort, they hoisted the flag of Nishan Sahib (the religious mark of Sikhism) and the flag United Farmer’s Front. From the Ministry of Home Affairs to the leader of the United Farmer’s Front were seeing the drama, a large batch of farmers had waved a religion flag on a historic building like the Red Fort.
However, before they waved the religious flag on the Red Fort, They had forgotten that secularism is evidenced by the same Red Fort on 15 August.
According to the Farmer leaders, they had also deployed volunteers, but giving the uncontrollable crowd, it does not seem that the farmer leaders were more sensitive to this. This was a big responsibility, but it can be clearly said that the Farmer leaders were left just as perceived leaders, and their leadership was not seen.
The farmer leaders should remember that if they lose control, ‘it does not take long for the agitators to become rioters’.
The decision of the Kisan Parade was taken long ago by the United Farmer’s Front, so it is natural to question their understanding and management. Five thousand tractors were allowed by Delhi Police, but the number of tractors is being told from 80 thousand to one lakh.
It can be clearly said that there was no difference between the Power demonstration of a leader and in the farmers’ parade. At six o’clock in the evening, all the agitators were ordered by the United Farmer’s Front to conclude the Kisan Parade and return to their places.
After this, there was a tremendous enthusiasm in the media, as if it was waiting. The vulture was sitting with open eyes to catch the hunt. This new year, especially after the Farmers protest, the first example of Vulture Journalism was likely to come out soon, but no one would have thought so soon.
Yogendra Yadav was already saying that ‘They are waiting for a single mistake of ours’, but some agitators could not understand this, or Netaji could not explain it properly. To keep a protest restrained, it is necessary to hold on to it, but the rein for 61 days did not finally work on the 62nd day.
In the midnight of 25-26 January, Punjabi actor Deep Siddu (allegedly BJP and Khalistani supporters) and some of his supporters took to the stage and opposed the fixed route and encouraged the farmers to walk away from it, the next day, i.e., 26 January, The flag of Nishan Sahib was hoisted at Red Fort.
While hoisting the flag, Deep Siddu was live on Facebook and must have felt proud of himself. Must be thinking, “Who is bigger than us today?” He hoists the flag on the Red Fort as if he is considering himself the another Prime Minister of the country.’
The United Farmer’s Front had already announced the separation of Deep Siddu from the movement, but that did not work. Deep Siddu campaigned for BJP MP Sunny Deol in Gurdaspur in 2019. A video also came out in which Sunny Deol is seen saying that ‘Deep is my younger brother‘.
But after the Red Fort scandal, Sunny Deol made a very balanced and common tweet, which often the leaders do not want, “My family or I have nothing to do with Deep Siddu”
The simple and clear thing is that the image of the movement has gone low, many positive feelings and sympathy were attached to the protest, but now its quantity has definitely decreased. Farmer leaders will have to bear the responsibility for this because the parade was called by them, so they should have control of the crowd.
Only Appealing by Facebook cannot be called a responsibility. It would have been better if the parade had been confined to a peace march without making it a ‘power show’. However, apart from their behavior, the Delhi Police played a decent role.
The Ministry of Home Affairs should have been prepared in advance for this, which was done after the incident. Mere issuing of advisory does not eliminate responsibility.
It was already known that the direction of Pannu’s organization is contrary to the United Farmer’s Front. In such a situation, the Home Ministry and the security agencies did not seem serious.
Farmers’ march was to be held in front of Parliament on 1 February, but now it is impossible. If this happens, then farmer leaders will have to keep in mind the event of Capitol Hill of America.
Delhi Police has filed an FIR against 37 farmer leaders, including Darshan Pal Singh, Yogendra Yadav, Satnam Singh Pannu, and Rakesh Tikait. The United Farmer’s Front has blamed the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti and Deep Siddu. No one is ready to take responsibility.
Whatever happened, was wrong. Crossing the constitutional scope of the country, hoisting the flag of a particular religion on a national heritage like the Red Fort, means to play with secularism. At the moment, it can be expected from the people of the country that they will be able to differentiate between farmer leaders’ mistakes and farmers ‘movement’.