October 18, 2021

National

A kisan protest without women

IANS | September 27, 2021 07:41 PM

 The farmers' protest, where women had taken the lead a few months ago, witnessed no active female participation at Ghazipur border on Monday.

"Most of the women are looking after their home and farm lands while we (men) are here at Delhi, " Dalbir Singh said.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) had called a Bharat Bandh (nationwide shutdown) on Monday to mark a year since the three contentious farm laws were passed by the Centre in the parliament. "It was on September 27 that President Ram Nath Kovind gave his nod to and brought into force the three anti-farmer black laws last year. Tomorrow, there will be a total Bharat Bandh observed around the country from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., " it said in a statement on Sunday.

A handful of women who were present at the demonstration site had come from the nearby areas of Trilokpuri and Kondli in east Delhi. "We come here at 10-11 in the morning to help prepare food and leave in the evening, " Gurbachan, a woman in her 50s said, adding, "During our time here we help with the lunch and make arrangements for dinner."

"It is not that we work alone. We get plenty of help from men here, " another woman -- a homemaker named Simrat -- said, adding, "Earlier more women used to come but now more restrictions have been imposed at the entrance so only a few are able to make it till here."

Ghazipur border has been closed from the side where farmers have set up their camps. People have to use a path in an abandoned field near the NH24 highway to reach the site.

Atul Tripathi, coordinator at the farmers' protest, cited safety and lack of facilities for women as the top reasons behind their absence. "Harsh weather condition is another factor, " he added.

Mala Devi, member of All India Progressive Women's Association said, "Women come here when they are invited. On special occasions women are called from nearby regions and they stay throughout the programme. Like tomorrow is Bhagat Singh Jayanti so there is a possibility of more women being here."

She too, comes to the Ghazipur protest site in the morning and leaves by evening.

"We may see over 100-150 women here after the paddy is cultivated, " a senior coordinator from Rampur added.

According to a 2018 Oxfam report, the agriculture sector employs 80 per cent of all economically active women in India, comprising 33 per cent of the agriculture labour force and 48 pc of the self-employed farmers.

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