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Friday, March 31, 2023

Fines, social boycott threats to farmers in Punjab villages bring back disturbing memories

There are multiple media reports suggesting that village panchayats in Punjab are forcing common farmers to join the protests going on at Delhi’s borders. Each family is being forced to provide one member to the protest cause and that too on a rotation basis. Those who refuse to comply have to shell out fines of anywhere between 300 to 1500 Rupees (in some villages the imposition of fines has allegedly already begun). This is happening in many districts of not just Punjab but is slowly spreading to Haryana as well.

The Tikait family which has links to RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) has also been making a similar demand asking each farmer family to send one member to the protest sites in and around Delhi, during various mahapanchayats held in Harayana and Western UP last week.

Into its fifth month, the movement began losing steam, especially after the wanton violence witnessed on Republic Day in which around 400 cops sustained injuries and the tricolor was disrespected at Red Fort. Locals, fed up of the disturbance to their lives & livelihood, had also clashed with protestors in some protest sites like Singhu.

Hence the sponsors of these protests are now showing signs of desperation. The ordinary farmer fearing social boycott is the one who is caught in the middle. The new policy of intimidation seems to be working for now.  Severe curbs in the capital have helped push the protestors back but they are not yet ready to fully disperse.

Old-timers would have felt a sense of deja vu hearing announcements being made by the panchayat heads from gurudwaras and at their meetings that the government agencies are working hard to derail the protests and that these farm laws are ‘anti-farmer’.

Now, an NRI lady has shared her first-hand experience via a social media post about how scary the current situation is turning in the Punjab hinterland, and how it brings back memories of ordinary people being intimidated by Khalistanis during the 1980-90s.

Transcript of the post above:

“I just got off the phone to my Massi in Punjab. The current situation is a bit scary and I urge all of you to reach out to your relatives in the villages. A lot of people are gonna hate that I say this but I’m saying it with truth and integrity.

Maasi told me that my cousin was paid by the unions 5000 Rupees to bring his tractor to Delhi, and not just him but all his mates and other villagers.

Now the Union reps are visiting the village Gurudwaras and calling people to either send a man to the protests or pay 1500 Rupees. If the people don’t do either of this, then they will be labeled as not Hindustani and outcast from the community and no one will be allowed to do business with the non-compliant. This happened in the villages around AlodiPur. 

Sounds like blackmail which goes to prove that this protest – whilst started off about farmer rights – is no longer about farmer rights. My people in Punjab are being forced into action by union leaders. Scarily similar to when the Khalistanis were taking over Punjab years back and forcing people to give up lands or give ‘donations’.

And I know it sounds so far fetched, but anyone who was around when the Khalistani movement was in force would know that it’s a very real situation.”

Clearly, there seems to be no shortage of funds for these protests – modern tents and other amenities, never seen before at any Bharatiya protest, hint at involvement of foreign forces based in Western countries like Canada, UK, USA. The protest toolkit shows how Khalistani organisations like Poetic Justice Foundation have planned things down to the last detail.  

The fines being collected from ordinary villagers could also be a source of paying for the fuel and expenses of the protestors. Tractor owners are also being wooed with promises of payment for damages to their vehicles. This explains why the drivers jumped dividers and crashed their tractors into barricades. Would any farmer be ready to sacrifice his tractor without such assurances? The unlimited free liquor being distributed is also a major catalyst for such aggression.

Another point worth noting is the total absence of media coverage on the role of these village Panchayats, known as Khaps in Haryana and Western UP, this time around from the mainstream media. Known to vociferously criticize the Khaps as ‘kangaroo courts’, ‘unconstitutional’ etc., the Lutyens media this time around are totally silent when it comes to the diktats being passed by these panchayats.

But then again the only thing consistent about Lutyens’ media is their ant-Hindu outlook, so for now the social boycott and outcaste threats being issued by panchayats have become ‘progressive measures in the cause of social justice’ and not an infringement of free will!  

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