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UP: Tikait-led Group Holds Tractor March in Support of Punjab Farmers, Threatens to Move Toward Delhi

Rakesh Tikait said a crucial meeting of SKM was scheduled for Thursday, where farmers from across the country would decide the future course of the agitation.
Farmer Leader Rakesh Tikait to Visit Gujarat, Organisers Wary of Police Crackdown

Image Courtesy: PTI

Lucknow: In support of the ongoing protests at the borders of Punjab over their various demands, thousands of farmers under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait) on Wednesday took out a tractor march in Western Uttar Pradesh and held dharnas outside the collector's office. 

BKU president Naresh Tikait and national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait joined the tractor march in Meerut. The Tikait brothers said farmers of the entire country were united in support of the farmers' movement. They warned the Centre that if the government created any problem for the farmers, then Delhi would not be “far for the farmers.” 

"After today's tractor march, we have programmes on February 26 and 27 in support of the issues raised by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political). Our tractors would move toward Delhi from all directions till the Ghazipur border," the BKU president said while addressing farmers in Meerut. 

Tikait also urged farmers to gear up for an 'aandolan' (movement) if they want to protect their land.

Speaking with NewsClick, Rakesh Tikait said: "If the government installs iron nails, barbed wires and concrete barricades at borders to prevent farmers from entering the capital, farmers will do the same in their villages. We will also have to barricade our villages ahead of Lok Sabha polls. If they (government) are not allowing farmers to come to Delhi, we will also not allow the ruling government and its leaders to enter the village during the elections. If they work to crush the farmers' movement, then who will allow them to enter our villages?”

Tikait further questioned if any movement in the country was taking place without fear? “The government is creating fear psychosis by using agencies, including ED and CBI. Delhi is closer and Punjab is far, so we are driving tractors in UP. The tractor march is a trial to go to Delhi," he added.

Highlighting the need for a law on Minimum Support Prices (MSP), Tikait strongly advocated the exclusion of private players in the agricultural sector.

"Private players should have no role to play. Big demonstrations are being held across the nation for this and this movement will be taken further," he added.

On Wednesday, farmers from Shamli, Meerut, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Sambhal, Amroha, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Agra, Bareilly and Lakhimpur Kheri began a tractor march to the collectorate office but were stopped by security personnel at many places. As the farmers attempted to breach the tight security, a few were seen removing police barricades and reaching inside the collectorate offices with tractors.

Besides a legal guarantee for MSP, the farmers are demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and "justice" for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act-2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

Speaking with NewsClick, Shamli BKU district president Kalindra Malik said all the farmers marching toward Delhi were demanding a law on MSP, implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report and debt waiver. But the ruling government is "anti-farmer". Therefore, farmers are being stopped from going to Delhi, and teargas shells were fired at farmers."

A memorandum was given by BKU leaders at all the district headquarters after the tractor march, in which issues, including MSP, were included.

Rakesh Tikait said a crucial meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha was scheduled for Thursday, where farmers from across the country would decide the future course of the agitation.

In Meerut, a large number of farmers gathered at the collectorate office under the banner of BKU with dry ration, cylinders, stoves, utensils, and mattresses. Even before the farmers, a furnace has been installed at the collectorate office and food preparation has started. It is believed that the farmers have come with the intention to stay the night and protest. 

Meanwhile, security was heightened at interstate borders and UP-Delhi borders as agitating farmers threatened to move to the national capital on February 26. 

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