File Photo of farmers protesting against the three farm laws (Image credit: The Indian Express)

“We will celebrate New Year on the day Narendra Modi repeals the three farm laws”

When crores of Indians were busy celebrating New Year across the country a woman protestor from Amritsar told the reporter of a prominent television channel that: “We will celebrate New Year on the day Narendra Modi repeals the three farm laws.”

She told NDTV that when the entire country was in the grip of corona virus it was the farmers who fed the people of the country. Foods were served at langars and other places when all the activities were closed. The Modi government is trying to crush the same farmers. For them the New Year celebration is meaningless until all the three laws are not scrapped.

Other farmers dittoed what the woman from Amritsar said. One of them said that they are fighting simply because they fear that they would soon be losing their land to the capitalists.

While farmers at Singhu and other borders were certainly muted in their response elsewhere in Delhi lakhs of people openly violated the night curfew and restrictions to welcome January 1, 2021. Very few of them were wearing mask as they openly enjoyed the occasion.

However, in Connaught Place and other centrally located upscale colonies the night curfew and Section 144 were observed strictly between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM. But that was not the case elsewhere in the city where people forgot that they are in the grip of a pandemic.

In contrast people in Mumbai appeared to be more law-abiding. The 50,000 strong Mumbai Police were seen asking people to end their celebrations and move to homes after 11:00 PM.

Night curfew was observed in Bangalore were too the celebration was somewhat muted.  

But in Goa, where there was no night curfew, about 45 lakh tourists gathered to greet the New Year in beaches, holiday resorts and hotels etc. No night curfew has been imposed in West Bengal, Bihar and Chandigarh as well.

Millions of people celebrated the occasion in hotels, restaurants and on the streets in these places. At many places a large number of people even paid visit to temples. In Puri (Odisha) devotees offered special prayer at the time of sun-rise at sea beaches. In Banaras pujas were offered at Ganga ghats.

While the rich and powerful displayed their wealth—be it at homes or streets—for the millions of poor, whose number increased astronomically in 2020, thanks to the lockdown and subsequent developments, there was no sign of any festivity. Like the agitating farmers they have nothing to celebrate. No TV reporter went to the house of even one of the millions of migrant labourers who made historic return to their homes with empty stomach and hardly any money in the pocket in those heydays of lockdown. Hundreds of them perished in the process.

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