Masihuzzama Ansari & Syed Khalique Ahmed
NEW DELHI—Muslims from different parts of the country are taking part in the farmers’ protest against three controversial Farm Bills ever since the protest started at Singhu border in Haryana, adjoining Delhi, about 50 days ago.
On January 14, a group of Muslim women and girls from Malerkotla in Punjab came to Tikri border where farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been sitting on dharna demanding repeal of three anti-farm laws.
The Muslim women called on Harinder Bindu, woman leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugraha) at the protest site and expressed their solidarity with the protesting farmers.
They told Bindu that they were with the protesting farmers in their struggle seeking repeal of the contentious farm laws. A large number of women and children from villages of Punjab and Haryana, are sitting on dharna, along with men, at the Tikri border.
The participation of Muslim women from Malerkotla, about 270kms from Delhi, has sent a strong positive message when the government and some political parties as also right wing outfits are claiming that only farmers belonging to a particular community from Punjab are taking part in the agitation.
Malerkotla women’s representative Shagufta and Najma also addressed the protesters from the platform of the Kisan Ekta Morcha(United Front of Farmers). The girls accompanying the Muslim women recited poems of resistance and raised slogans in favour of protesting farmers. Muslim women said that they were with farmers who were demanding repeal of the three Farm Laws that were not only against farmers but also the consumers because the obnoxious laws allow hoarding that will raise prices very high.
Ishtiyaq Rasheed, who had come with the women’s group, told India Tomorrow that most of the Muslim women coming to Tikri border were affiliated to Punjab unit of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Girls Islamic Organisation (GIO), JIH’s girls wing.
The women also offered ‘namaz’ (prayers) under protection provided to them by protesting farmers. Videos of ‘namaz’ were also circulated on social media, with people describing this as an example of India’s unity, tolerance, peace and communal harmony.
Earlier, several groups of Muslims from Malerkotla and several parts of Haryana had visited Singhu border in solidarity with agitating farmers. They had said that the government and the Godi media were propagating about Khalistan supporters infiltration among protesters with a view to delegitimize the farmers movement. They said that this was a propaganda to tarnish the image of farmers from Punjab, particularly the Sikh farmers. Muslim farmers said that this tactic would not succeed because there was no truth in their propaganda and farmers of all communities were united against the farm bills.
Delegations of Jamaat-e-Islami from Telengana state, Delhi and other places also met the protesting farmers at Singhu and Tikri borders and expressed their support to the farmers movement against the three bills.
Muslim farmers from Muzaffarnagar and Meerut are also sitting on protest along with other farmers at Ghazipur border in Delhi. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait) leader Sanjiv Kadian said that Muslim farmers were with the protesting farmers and sitting on dharna from the very first day. “Interests of all farmers, irrespective of caste and community, are common and hence, they are united, despite efforts of some political parties to divide them”, said Kadian.
Another BKU(Tikait) leader Vipin Chaudhary from Muzaffarnagar said that Muslim farmers are with the protesting farmers. “BJP wants to break our unity. We will not allow it to happen. They want Hindu-Muslim violence to bring an end to the protest but we will not permit it at all”, said Chaudhary.
There are banners with slogans of “love, peace, unity” displayed outside many tents in Hindi, English and Punjabi(Gurmukhi) languages at Ghazipur border, indicating solidarity among farmers of different regions.
So far, nine rounds of talks between the protesting farm leaders and the government have failed. The Supreme Court had also appointed a four-member committee to look into the demands of the farmers and submit a report but one of the committee members-Bhupinder Singh Mann-resigned from the committee in the “interest of farmers and Punjab”.