Lucknow: Intensifying their agitation, hundreds of farmers have started a five-day ‘Kisan Kranti Padayatra’ (foot march) from Bulandshahar to the Ghazipur border of Delhi to protest against the three farm laws brought in last year.
Led by Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) former district president Guddu Pradhan, the Padayatra started from Mastram ghat in Bulandshahr district on Monday and it will reach the farmers’ protest site at Ghazipur border on June 18. The march would cover around 85-km stretch through four districts within a span of five days.
As the foot march of farmers started, national highways leading to the national capital were swamped with farmers who have came from different villages of Bulandshahr. The protesting farmers took a pledge to ensure the success of the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws.
Guddu, who is leading the Padayatra, told Newsclick, "Hot summer or rain cannot dampen the spirit of farmers. We will strengthen the movement with our presence and will not step back until the government withdraws the three black farm laws.” He added that farmers from adjoining districts including Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Bijnore and Saharanpur would also kick off similar marches in a week.
The BKU leader further said that a convoy of 500 cars from Sambhal district would leave for Ghazipur border on June 21 and about 5,000 farmers were expected to join the march under the banner of BKU (Asli).
"The farmers' movement against the agriculture laws has not stopped yet. To give edge to the movement, farmers' organisations are busy in their preparations conducting meetings in every district with senior leaders and respective persons to mobilise farmers. We will start from where we had left off by renewing their fight against the three agriculture laws brought by the central government," Harpal Singh, BKU (Asli) president, told Newsclick.
Meanwhile, a group of farmers led by BKU general secretary (National Capital Region) Mangeram Tyagi organised a 'Mahapanchayat' in Anupshahr on Monday against the three controversial farm laws.
Tyagi warned the central government to "not test their patience, initiate dialogue and accept the demands". He said, "The farmers of the country are fighting for their economic freedom. If the government does not stop opposing the farmers, it will have to face the fatal consequences in future.”
Tyagi further added that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the centre was completely ‘anti-farmer’. "If the government had been attached to the farmers, agricultural laws would have been withdrawn till now on the demand of the farmers. The wheel of development in the country and the state has completely stopped. The farmer wants a change in the country and they will show their strength in the upcoming elections,” he said.
The widespread farmers protests slowed down in March after the second wave of the pandemic took the country in its grips.
Another prominent farmer union leader Naresh Chaudhary, based in Mawana, has called a meeting in Meerut on Wednesday to discuss the next plan of action. Chaudhary told Newsclick, “The coronavirus pandemic is almost over in rural areas. The farmers would return to the border as harvesting season is over to raise their voice against atrocities. We are doing door-to-door campaigns and telling them that the strength lies in our unity and our presence at the protest site is the need of the hour. Farmers who are vaccinated should ensure their presence on priority," he said.
Farmers say that despite facing many hardships due to COVID-19, the more the central government was ignoring their key demands, the more the farmers were getting determined.
According to reports, a similar march took off with about 150 farmers from Shahjahanpur district, including BKU district president Manjit Singh, and joined the stir at Ghazipur border on June 13.