Makrauli, India, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 16th Feb, 2021 ) :Blasting catchy pro-farmer songs from a speaker, an electric-blue tractor rattled down an Indian village road collecting pails of milk — just some of the donations sustaining massive protest camps outside New Delhi.
More than two months after the first farmers set up camps on the capital’s borders, tens of thousands more have joined them, calling for the repeal of new agriculture laws.
“This campaign, this farmer movement, isn’t theirs — those who are sitting there — alone,” Sumit Arya, the 35-year-old head of Makrauli Khurd, a village about two hours’ drive from the main protest sites, told AFP.
On Tuesdays, villagers carry small metal buckets full of milk freshly squeezed from their cows to the back of trailers, where men like Ajit Singh gently pour them into larger cans.
Around him, villagers raised their fists and chanted “zindabad” (“long live”), in reply to someone yelling “kisan ekta” (“farmers united”) — a rallying cry often heard at the protests.
The protests — which turned deadly in late January when a tractor rally in Delhi turned into a rampage — have become one of the biggest challenges to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government since it came to power in 2014.
Since the start of the sit-in protests in late November, a support network has sprung up to care for the sprawling camps.
They are joined by farmers and their families eager to spend the day or several nights at the sites.
“We strike up friendships… Two or three tractors keep going from our village to keep their spirits up,” Ajay Punia, 18, told AFP on a trailer en route to Delhi from Makrauli with 11 others aged 14 to 65.
Moments later, two trolleys carrying about 30 people — mostly women — from another village passed by and the two groups pumped their fists into the air and chanted slogans. Beside the highway, people waved their support.
The trolley stopped at a community kitchen run by Makrauli and several nearby villages, and the boys and men climbed out and sat in a straight line on a mat.
“Without this brotherhood, nothing works. Even in our village, different castes are a part of it,” Arya said.
“People are getting increasingly pulled towards this (protest)… And whatever its length, we are not backing out.”