Amid calls for a "peaceful" Bharat Bandh, farmers, who have refused to give space to political leaders in their protest against repeal of farm laws, made a strong statement today by organising a blood donation camp at Delhi's Tikri border.
"We are farmers and give our sweat and blood to our country. But, we have been called separatists and anti-national. We will give every last drop of our blood, but not accept these laws," said Surendra Dalal, a farmer from Rohtak in Haryana, where FPOs that broke ranks on Monday were dismissed as government-backed by key farmers unions.
The blood donation camp, organised by the Khalsa Aid Foundation, was one of the many unique ways in which farmers have been making at a statement at the Tikri border -- one of entry points to Delhi where blockade continue as thousands of farmers carry out sit-in protests.
Of the several women and children who are a part of the movement is 10-year-old Jaskirat Kaur, who has come to Delhi - almost 350 km from their home in Punjab's border district of Sri Muktsar Sahib - with her grandfather Diwan Singh, 62.
Jaskirat Kaur recited a poem in Punjabi a rough translation of which is: "Just like birds are safe in their nests, the Punjabi farmers were safe in their fields. But the government is... trying to make the Punjabis fight with each other. They are selling the country... but the biggest power is the Almighty, and he will ensure that we win in this fight."
Her audience clapped and cheered in appreciation at the protest site, surrounded by police and paramilitary personnel in riot gear with barricades, tear gas guns and water cannons.
For at least 12 days, thousands of farmers have been camped out at Tikri with their ration and stoves, living in modified tractors demanding complete rollback of three farm laws, which they fear would leave them vulnerable to exploitation by cash-rich corporates.
They have said they will not go back till the laws are repealed. The protest site now extends for kilometres and is surveilled by drones.
In Delhi, the shutdown has remained peaceful till now despite dramatic protests near the Delhi-Meerut highway, which has been blocked completely till 3pm. Delhi and Haryana Police have issued separate travel and traffic advisories for people looking to enter or leave the national capital region.
Emergency services, like ambulances, have not been affected
Mandis and supply have been hit as trade and transport unions backed a "peaceful" Bharat Bandh.
Despite repeated calls that the protest is independently driven by farmers, the ruling BJP has accused the opposition parties, which lent support, of "engineering protests for political gains". The BJP has accused the Congress of misguiding farmers and that the laws include reforms they also supported not too long ago.