Protesters plan to burn copies of contentious farm laws today

‘There is little to celebrate this year but will observe Lohri with fellow protesters’

For 71-year-old Baljinder Singh from Ludhiana, this will be the first time that he will be away from home on Lohri, and the festivities don’t feel the same this year.

This year, protesting farmers have planned to burn copies of the three controversial farm laws on Lohri.

‘Not missing home’

“I’ll be away from my family for the first time but I am not missing home. My wife, son and daughter-in-law told me to come back after winning the battle,” Mr. Baljinder said, adding that they’ll all celebrate at the Singhu border like a family on Wednesday. “We will burn the copies of the law in protest”.

Baljit Singh, committee member of the All India Kisan Sabha and stage management committee member, said that they have given a message to farmers across the country — those who celebrate Lohri — to burn copies of the laws.

“We have asked farmers in villages to burn copies of the laws and also discuss how they can contribute to the protest in as many way as possible,” he said.

Part of tradition

Mr. Baljit said that the reason for the call to burn the copies is because as tradition, they throw black sesame seeds in the fire as a symbol of burning bad elements.

“For us, there’s nothing worse than the laws. Hence, along with the black seasame seeds, copies of the law will also be burnt”.

At the Singhu border on Wednesday, farmer leaders said that logs of wood will be placed at various places across the long stretch and peanuts, revdi, and popcorn have been brought from villages to be thrown into the fire as part of the tradition.

“Kilos of popcorn and peanuts have been brought from villages for Lohri. People from a village have brought their own trolleys. We all, however, will share,” said Manpreet Singh, 60, from Ludhiana.

‘No reason to celebrate’

While the spirit of festivities was visibly absent among protesting farmers, some at least said they would celebrate with their newly formed families and friends at the protest site.

However, there were some who said they won’t.

“Nearly 70 people have died so far because of these laws, what’s there to celebrate. I don’t think I will celebrate but wish well all who will,” said Inderpal Singh, 50, from Hoshiarpur.

Rupinder Singh, 45, from Ludhiana shared the same sentiment and said Lohri doesn’t hold anything special for him this year. If the laws are not repealed then I am ready to spend all festivals here,” he said.

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