Will Discuss Strategies To Continue Stir: Farmer Leader Rakesh Tikait In UP
At the Muzaffarnagar event, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha expects nearly a lakh farmers and participants to launch a renewed campaign against the Centre's three farm legislation.
At the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers' groups would debate methods for continuing the struggle against the three problematic farm laws.
Thousands of farmers from across the country have assembled at GIC ground in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, in response to a call from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organisation of farmers' unions conducting demonstrations against the Centre's new farm rules, which were adopted in November 2020.
SKM leaders claimed the Muzaffarnagar rally on Sunday will pave the way for ‘Mission Uttar Pradesh' to continue discussing issues affecting farmers. They estimated that over a lakh people will attend the event.
At the Muzaffarnagar assembly, prominent social activists such as Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar shared the dais with Rakesh Tikait and his brother Naresh Tikait, as well as khaps and farmer leaders.
According to BKU state president Rajbeer Singh Jadaun, similar Kisan Mahapanchayats will be held in 18 Uttar Pradesh divisions in the coming months. According to the BKU president, almost five lakh farmers are likely to attend.
Given the massive gathering, the local government prepared sophisticated security precautions. In addition to police forces from several districts, it has deployed six companies of the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and two companies of the rapid response force (RAF) in and around the arena.
The district administration rejected down Rashtriya Lok Dal chairman Jayant Chowdhary's plea to drop flowers on farmers from a helicopter to avoid a stampede.
A group of farmers protesting in Karnal were baton-charged by Haryana police last week. After recordings of Karnal sub-divisional magistrate Ayush Sinha ordered to "crush the heads" of any demonstrators who "crossed the barricades," the incident attracted criticism from some sectors.
The event injured several protestors, forcing SKM leaders to demand the resignation of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The IAS official has since been reassigned.
As a show of support for the farmers, various khap panchayats have organised community feasts for the protesting farmers, while local gurdwaras have organised langars and Muslim community members have distributed sweets to the participants in the morning.
Avik Saha, the national convenor of the Jan Kisan Andolan, dubbed the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar a "march towards the future" as he tweeted visuals from the meeting.
Farmers from all over the country have been lobbying for the repeal of three controversial agriculture-related laws — Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — which they claim will eliminate minimum support prices for their crops.
In the last ten months, several rounds of talks between farmer leaders and the government have failed to yield results, causing the BKU to file a petition with the Supreme Court challenging the three laws. The highest court had halted the implementation of the three laws in January after hearing the petitions and set up a four-member body to give recommendations on the laws.