Lucknow: A large number of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh and adjacent districts in Uttarakhand are expected to arrive at UP Gate – Ghazipur Border – to celebrate Baisakhi on Tuesday as a mark of protest against the Centre's Farm Laws.
Baisakhi is mostly celebrated in Punjab and north India, marking the beginning of the spring harvest festival. The harvest festival celebrates the joy of the ripening Kharif crop.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) media in-charge Dharmendra Malik said the farmers will celebrate Baisakhi by burning copies of the farm laws at all protest sites in the evening. "The farmers will celebrate the Baisakhi festival at Delhi's borders on April 13. On the next day – the birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar – Samvidan Bachao Divas (Save Constitution Day) will be observed by peasants."
Jagtar Singh Bajwa, who has been protesting at the UP Gate for months, and is also the spokesperson of the Ghazipur Kisan Andolan Committee, said: "Sunday’s celebration is part of a series of protests that we have planned. We have intimated the administration much in advance. Similar programmes have been planned on April 13 and 14 too.”
According to Bajwa, the committee has decided that farmers from Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh should be given the responsibility for these events. As a result, farmers from both areas have been asked to reach UP Gate by Monday evening.
"Peasants, labourers, women, Dalit-Adivasi-Bahujans, unemployed youths and every section of the society will be a part of this function. People will come in their own vehicles from villages to the borders of Delhi,’’ said Bajwa adding that women will also participate in the festival of Baisakhi. Whereas on April 14, to be celebrated as 'Kisan Bahujan Ekta Diwas' the platform will be dedicated to the Bahujan society at the protest site. "The majority of the speakers on the stage will be leaders of the Bahujan Samaj," spokesperson of the Ghazipur Kisan Andolan Committee informed Newsclick.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) – an umbrella body representing the protesting farmers unions – will hold a meeting later in the day to discuss the next course of action. "We’ll mark April 14, the birth anniversary of Dr. BR Ambedkar as the Samvidhan Bachao Divas. On May 1, we’ll mark Mazdoor Day at the borders of Delhi. The day will be dedicated to farmer-worker unity,’’ the union said.
Reacting to the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's statement for a resumption of talks with protesting farmers, BKU national spokesperson said that farmers protesting the contentious farm laws are ready to talk if the Centre invited them. He said that dialogue would resume where it had ended on January 22, and that their demands remain unchanged.
“The talks with the government would resume from the same point where it had ended on January 22. Our demands are also the same – all the three 'black' farm laws should be repealed, a new law made to ensure MSP (minimum support price) for crops,” Tikait was quoted as saying in a statement issued by BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik.
Meanwhile, agitating farmers from western Uttar Pradesh had blocked the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) at Dasna for 24 hours from Saturday morning. The blockade began at 8 am on Saturday and lasted till 8 am on Sunday. The SKM gave the call for a 24-hour blockade of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway on Friday.
BKU leaders said that farmers blocked the highway to reiterate their demand for a rollback of the three contentious laws. The union blocked all entry and exit points on the highway without disrupting commuters dealing with emergency situations.