Lucknow: Farmers from western Uttar Pradesh – under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) – who had been moving towards the national capital as part of the 'Delhi Chalo' protest march demanding a rollback of the Centre's Farm Laws, were stopped at the border near Ghazipur on Saturday afternoon, with the police using force against protesters in order to disperse them.
Angry farmers, who were denied entry into the national capital, managed to break through multiple layers of barricades setup by the UP Police at the Ghazipur border. They then began moving towards the barricades put up by the Delhi Police.
With placards in hands, the farmers, riding tractors and trolleys, were seen chanting slogans against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre and against the Haryana government, demanding the withdrawal of the three laws. After being denied entry into the capital, the farmers sat on NH-24 (Ghazipur highway) in protest.
Dharmendra Malik, spokesperson of the BKU, expressed dismay at not being allowed to enter Delhi. “The march was proceeding in a disciplined and democratic manner. I don’t understand why we have been stopped by the police. If our government is so adamant and won’t listen to our problems, who will? Should we go to Pakistan?” Malik told NewsClick, adding that after being stopped near the Ghazipur border, they were asked to send their representatives to speak to the authorities. The rest have been told to wait at the border, he said.
The BKU, founded by one of India’s tallest farmer leaders, Mahendra Singh Tikait, began the yatra with thousands of farmers from several districts of western Uttar Pradesh on November 26. Their demands include either scrapping the three laws or the introduction of a new legislation to guarantee them the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
"We have been stopped by the Delhi Police and we will sit here and raise our voice against the laws as the government has failed to address the issues of the farmers. We are proceeding to Delhi now. We demand that there should a provision (in the law) which states that there will be no sale of produce below the MSP,” Rakesh Tikait, the BKU chief, told NewsClick.
“This is a battle of ideas. This time, the BKU is not in the mood to hold talks with the government. They need to come up with a solution for the problems faced by farmers. Till the farmers’ problems are not resolved, BKU workers and farmers will continue to agitate on the road. We have been on the lookout for the government for several years now, but have been unable to find it. This time we hope to meet the government,” he added.
Meanwhile, social activist Medha Patkar and scores of farmers from Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, who had been protesting on the Agra-Mumbai highway after being prevented from entering Uttar Pradesh, were finally permitted by the Agra police last evening after the Centre allowed farmers from Punjab to enter Delhi.
Lucknow Police Arrests Women Activists
A delegation of state-level leaders of the Left parties – the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation and All India Forward Bloc – handed over a memorandum addressed to the President of India and to Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, over atrocities on farmers
CPI state secretary Hiralal Yadav told NewsClick that the “Uttar Pradesh Police, at the behest of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, is arresting innocent people; even those who distribute pamphlets about the Farm Laws. Madhu Garg, Suman Singh, Chandra, Meena and scores of women associated with All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) and the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) have been arrested by the Lucknow Police for distributing papers,” said Yadav, adding that Yogi government was “mistaken” if it thought it would suppress their voice by arresting women.