Thirteen-year-old Aryan is now worried about his next meal as thousands of farmers ended their protest and wound up their langars at Delhi’s Singhu border.
Like him, there were many who used to get food at the community kitchens set up by farmers and slept in tents pitched by them during the over a year-long protest.
On Saturday morning, a large number of children and local poor, including slum dwellers, had their last breakfast at farmers’ langars.
“We used to have our breakfast, lunch and dinner at langars here. This is our last breakfast today at the langar. Now, we have to either cook on our own or look for other options,” 13-year-old Aryan, a resident of slums in Kundli, told PTI.
Farmers said they too had developed feelings for local children who used to come to the protest site as they reminded them of their own sons and grandsons.
“These children became part of our protest as they used to come here for food. They reminded me of my grandsons. It was good to have them here. The Almighty will take care of them now,” Satwant Singh from Mohali said.
Dwellers of slums generally work at factories or warehouses in the region.
The homeless who used to live in makeshift tents set up by farmers were concerned about their lodging arrangements.
Monu Kushwaha, 38, from Supaul in Bihar said before farmers came to the Singhu border to protest, he used to sleep on the footpath but that changed after the stir began last year.
“During the farmers’ agitation, I used to sleep in one of their tents and have food at langars. All of that will stop now and I will go back to footpaths again,” Kushwaha lamented.
Eight-year-old Mausam, a resident of slums located near the KFC tower in Kundli, said for the past one year, he had been having good food at langars.
“My father works in a factory but since the family is big, we often have to skip meal of one time. But for the past one year, we used to have plenty of food at langars. We used to get it packed for home as well. All this will stop now,” Mausam said.
The presence of farmers and their settlements also helped poor children in other ways as well. They said they had no problem crossing the highway for their daily work, which before the protests generally used to be a tough task.
“My school is located on the other side of the highway. Ever since farmers came here, I faced no problem in crossing the road because of no traffic. I used to have food here and then go to school. It is sad that they are going back,” said Tarun, 11, whose father works in a showroom.
On November 29, a bill was passed in Parliament to repeal the laws, one of the main demands of the farmers. However, the farmers refused to end their protest, demanding that the government fulfil their other demands, that included legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) and the withdrawal of police cases against them.
As the Centre accepted the pending demands, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which was spearheading the stir, suspended the farmers’ movement and announced that they will be returning home on December 11. (PTI)