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Wheelchair-bound Punjab farmer defies odds, joins protest at Singhu border

Wheelchair-bound Punjab farmer defies odds, joins protest at Singhu border

Singh, who has been camping at the border for a month now, said he has been battling polio since childhood and has lost all hopes of recovery but this agitation is a ray of hope for him

File pic. mid-day archives

Sitting on a wheelchair, 44-year-old Harvinder Singh from Punjab''s Jalandhar interacts with fellow farmers camping at Delhi''s Singhu border to protest against the Centre''s new agri laws.His physical limitations due to polio have rendered him on a wheelchair for decades but that has not deterred him from joining the over a month-long agitation, leaving behind his ailing mother at his native village.

I may have lost all hopes of recovery from polio but I have not lost hope for a positive outcome from this agitation, he says.

Singh, who has been camping at the border for a month now, said he has been battling polio since childhood and has lost all hopes of recovery but this agitation is a ray of hope for him.

When asked what prompted him to join the protest despite his condition, Singh said "I am a farmer and so it was my responsibility to be here."

After joining the agitation, he has been to his hometown only twice -- once to attend to his ailing mother and second to bring some essentials items for his stay at the Singhu border.

Recalling the journey from his native village in Jalandhar to the border, Singh said he started for Delhi with a group of ten people on November 25 in two cars. Along with him, he carried his wheelchair and other essentials.

Back home, he was the one who look after his mother. But now she is being looked after by his neighbours and relatives.

Just 15 days after he reached Singhu, his 85-year-old ailing mother, Amar Kaur, sustained a severe nose injury but despite that she told his son to stay back at Singhu and asked him to fight his battle.

"Later, I went to my village to check on my mother. She is 85 but despite getting injured, she told me to not return and fight my battle," said Singh, who engages in wheat and rice farming at his hometown.

His nephew, Sukjinder, who accompanied Singh, said his uncle''s mother has been a great source of support to them.

"When she got injured, she did call to inform us and said she will be fine and that we need not rush back home immediately. She stressed that just like how it was doctor''s duty to treat her, it was their duty to fight for their rights," he added.

However, braving the severe cold and heavy downpour, nothing stopped Singh from returning home.

Now he is firm on staying at the border till the government accepts their demands and takes back the three new agri laws.

"I may face difficulties but with everyone''s cooperation, we are surviving all challenges and will continue to protest until our demands our met," he added.

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