Lucknow: Hundreds of farmers protesting against the Centre’s three new farm laws in Western Uttar Pradesh marked one year of their agitation on Saturday by observing 'Sampoorna Kranti Diwas’ and burning copies of the laws. Led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), the farmers handed over memoranda to the respective district authorities demanding repeal of the laws.
The call for observing ‘Sampoorna Kranti Diwas’ was given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions spearheading the agitation.
In Saharanpur, farmers held a symbolic protest and burnt copies of the three legislations outside all five tehsil offices and handed over a memorandum to the tehsil officials, BKU district president Rajveer Singh told NewsClick that a group of farmers in the adjoining Shamli district also burnt copies of the laws outside district headquarter, led by its president Kapil Khatiyan.
"The Central government brought the three anti-farmer and anti-people agricultural laws as ordinances last year on June 5. There has been a massive protest against these laws
and a movement is going on for more than six months at Delhi's borders, which hascreated history," Singh said, adding that in the coming days, the protest will be more aggressive and farmers will bring this "adamant" government to its knees.
At Meenakshi Chowk in Muzaffarnagar district, the hometown of BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, a minor scuffle reportedly took place between police and farmers during an attempt to break police barricades. Police personnel had been deployed and heavy barricades put up close to the district magistrate office.
Similar protests were held in Meerut, Baghpat, Etawah, Bulandshahr, Agra, Aligarh, Sitapur, Sonbhadra and Hapur districts among others with farmers raising slogans in support of their demands, a farmer said.
Agitating farmers in Western Uttar Pradesh said farmers are still to be paid Rs 23,000 crore as cane dues and if the pending dues are delayed by one more month, “the government will face a situation worse than the recent state panchayat elections”.
Meanwhile, in a bid to prevent farmers from joining protests in Etawah district, Mukut Singh, general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), UP chapter, was put under house arrest since morning. However, after much struggle by AIKS workers, the procession reached Ambedkar Square amid heavy police security.
Mukut Singh said the movement was going on for more than six months at Delhi's borders and more than 500 farmers had sacrificed their lives during the protest, yet there was no effect on the "pro-corporate" Modi government.
Accusing the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government of placing farmer leaders under ‘house arrest’ before a protest, the AIKS secretary told NewsClick: "The Yogi government is anti-democratic and is known for crushing movements, be it of farmers, students or its own employees. The people are angry and fed up with BJP. The panchayat elections are always an indicator of the ground situation and the anger of farmers and people will put the final nail in the coffin of BJP in upcoming Assembly elections."
A large number of farmers have been picketing toll plazas across Western Uttar Pradesh since the last one week, allowing commuters to pass without paying, which has caused losses to these companies. The farmers announced they would continue their protest at toll plazas until the farm laws are withdrawn.
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Some farmers in UP’s sugarcane belt also recounted the horror of police action during the early days of their protest, when in large numbers they, along with women and children, went to join their counterparts on Delhi's border. They said the “nightmare” is yet to sink as many of them had to flee from their villages due to uncalled for police raids amid farmers' protests.
"Police in Western Uttar Pradesh prepared a list of villagers who went to the Ghazipur border for protests. They were threatened not to participate and in many cases, legal action was taken (FIRs were filed). Besides, hundreds of tractors on their way to Ghazipur were seized by the police. The administration did everything to deter farmers from joining the movement but they braved all and created history," Ajay Singh, a farmer who was severely injured during the tractor parade, told NewsClick.