The celebrations in Kolkata following Narendra Modi’s announcement that the farm laws would be repealed mirrored the inclusive nature of the protests.
Many people who celebrated on Friday were non-Sikhs. There were women, students and people from all walks of life.
At the intersection of Chakraberia Road and Sarat Bose Road, which had been the site of a long-standing protest against the farm laws, sweets were distributed and fireworks were burst.
Distribution of sweets on Sarat Bose Road on Friday evening.Bishwarup Dutta
Many women were part of the celebrations. The women had taken part in a relay hunger strike at the site in January this year.
Multiple speakers pledged to preserve this communal harmony in the coming days.
“It was not only a farmers’ fight. It became everybody’s fight. Today, we must resolve to continue this tradition of togetherness. This victory is also a victory of communal amity,” said Manjit Singh Jitta, one of the key organisers of the protest. Multiple speakers, while paying tribute to the “hundreds of martyred farmers”, warned to not let the guard down until the laws were formally repealed.
That the announcement came on the occasion of Gurupurab, the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, made it more special, said Sikh community leaders. Langars were held at all gurdwaras. Shamsher Singh, the vice-president of Dunlop Gurdwara, led a rally from Dunlop to Bonhooghly to mark the celebrations.
The marchers raised slogans and distributed laddoos among pedestrians.
“Guru Nanak has blessed all of us — not only Sikhs but everybody,” he said.
Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, the general secretary of Gurdwara Behala, is in Amritsar for a personal visit. On Friday, he visited the Golden Temple after the PM’s announcement.
“I did Ardas (a special prayer session) for everybody. Good sense has finally prevailed,” he said.
The Left democratic students’ union like ISA, PDSF, held a victory march from Jadavpur University campus on Friday evening.
They marched from the campus to Sulekha crossing where a BJP office is located.
Some JU students in September went to Ghaziabad and Tikri borders under the banner of Worker-Peasant Unity to show their solidarity with the protesting farmers.
A victory march by Jadavpur University students after Modi’s announcement to repeal the farm laws on Friday.Picture courtesy: JU students
Hindol Mazumdar, a research scholar at JU who participated in the tour, said the fight by the farmers has encouraged them to resume the protest against the citizenship matrix.
“There is no alternative to waging a sustained movement against a fascist regime that introduces farm laws, Citizenship Matrix. Their success has encouraged us to revive the movement against CAA, NRC and NPR across campuses. The movement lost its momentum following the pandemic,” he said.
“Finally, the Fascist steamroller has been brought to a rude halt by the unstoppable force of the farmers’ movement. The Prime Minister of India conceded defeat on a television appearance,” Bengal Against Fascist RSS-BJP, a forum of several organisations, said in a statement.