On the afternoon of 30 November, a group of farmers from Haryana sat close to three layers of barricades at Tikri, on the Delhi-Haryana border, that included huge cement blocks and wire mesh. They were angry over recent comments by the Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the ongoing farmers’ protest. Khattar had claimed that his government had “inputs” on the presence of Khalistani separatists in the farmers’ agitation. “The Khattar government is dubbing the farmers here as Khalistanis from Punjab, but you see we are from Haryana, look at our Aadhar cards, the government shouldn’t try to divide us, all farmers present here are one,” Jatinder Singh Dhankar, a farmer from Raiya village in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, told us.
The farmers from Haryana had joined a “Delhi Chalo” protest rally primarily led by around thirty farmer organisations in Punjab. The organisations called for farmers from across the country to reach the national capital on 26 and 27 November for an indefinite protest against three controversial and recently enacted farm laws. Over three hundred farmers’ organisations from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana are supporting the rally. Police in Haryana and on the Delhi border barricaded various major roads to stop the farmers from reaching the capital. Thousands of farmers stormed these barricades, while the police attacked them with teargas shells and water cannons. The farmers also staged sit-in protests at various points on the Haryana-Delhi border. It was at the Tikri border that the Delhi police halted thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana on 27 November.
During our reporting, we witnessed a display of solidarity from Haryana farmers with their brethren from Punjab. The farmers from Raiya and surrounding villages in Haryana had thronged this place in 30 tractor-trolleys, bringing in essentials like blankets and milk. Dhankar told us that the Haryana farmers also ferried some of the “sisters and mothers” from Punjab who had reached the Haryana-Delhi border to nearby houses in Haryana for bathing and washing clothes. He said it was the duty of the Haryana farmers to take care of their “brothers from Punjab” who also brought their own months-long worth of ration, travelling from faraway villages.
Primarily, three farmer groups from Haryana participated in the protest—the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha led by Inderjit Singh, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) led by Gurnam Singh Chaduni, and the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti led by Mandeep Nathwan. In addition, groups of independent farmers not operating with any organisation also travelled to join the sit-ins at the Tikri and Singhu Haryana-Delhi borders.
Inderjit told me that on 29 November, the villagers of Titoli and other adjoining villages in Haryana’s Rohtak district rushed around twenty-five thousand litres of milk to the Tikri border where the farmer contingents from all over Punjab had reached. He also led a contingent of 300 tractor trolleys and matadors from within Haryana, reaching the Tikri border on 28 November.