New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) Doctors, lawyers, professors, artists all came out in large numbers Thursday to support thousands of farmers from across the country who have converged at the Ramlila Maidan here for a two-day protest.
Around 600-700 volunteers of solidarity group Nation For Farmers marched with the protesters from four assembly points Bijwasan, Majnu Ka Tila, Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar towards Ramlila Maidan. The volunteers comprise lawyers, doctors, educationists, etc.
They have mobilised support for the farmers’ march under a campaign called ‘Dilli Chalo’.
“We have had a good turnout of our volunteers who have come from different parts of the country. Our volunteers marched along with the farmers from the four points. We have also set up a health camp at Ramlila Maidan for the farmers,” Janhavi, a volunteer with the group, said.
The organisation is bearing the expenses for the protesting farmers’ basic needs, including food, water and other things. Volunteers were serving ‘puri-subzi’ and tea at regular intervals.
Around 25-30 doctors from various Delhi hospitals, like AIIMS, RML, Lok Nayak, Hindu Rao, Aruna Asaf Ali hospital, etc., organised a free health camp for the farmers at the Ramlila ground.
“We are providing them with all kinds of health support that they need to carry on with the protest. Some complained of low blood blood pressure, nausea, indigestion due to long travels. They are being given symptomatic treatment,” Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, president of the RDA at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said.
Abha Dev Habib, a DU professor, floated a group called ‘DU For Farmers’ a few days back and collected funds from professors and students to distribute food packets among the farmers.
She said despite exams, students from different colleges, especially St Stephens’, were there to support the protesting farmers. The group distributed packed sweet buns to over 6,500 farmers at the Ambedkar Stadium.
“The government is favouring the markets and crony capitalists and the farmers are facing a crisis. They are committing suicide and are at threat. Similarly, the educational sector is also under threat of commercialisation and privatisation. The government is favouring the market forces in every sector which is a cause of concern,” she added.
Balvinder Kaur, an Anganwadi worker from Punjab’s Sangrur district, said she was here to stand by the protesters.
Around 25 to 30 Anganwadi workers joined the farmers to show solidarity and will be heading back to Punjab on Thursday evening, she added.
A group Artists For Farmers distributed biscuits to the farmers while they were marching towards Ramlila Maidan.
The farmers will march from Ramlila ground to Parliament Street on Friday. They have come from different corners of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many of the farmers came in trains and others packed into buses and other modes of transport.
Phool Singh Sheokand, a farmer leader from Haryana, said, “We have been getting a lot of support from lawyers, doctors and activists and we are thankful for that. Everywhere we went, we were welcomed and they gave us food packets and marched with us.” The two-day rally will be one of the largest congregations of farmers in Delhi, the AIKSCC has said. A cultural programme would be held at Ramlila Ground on Thursday where prominent singers and poets from rural India would perform.
The AIKSCC was formed under the aegis of All India Kisan Sabha and other Left-affiliated farmers’ bodies in June 2017, after protests by farmers in states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for debt relief and remunerative prices.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.