June 5, 2021 3:25:35 am
UPSET WITH police raids and arrests of farmers in connection with the clash at Tohana on June 1, protesters led by top farmer leaders Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Chaduni will offer arrests after holding a rally in the Haryana town on Saturday.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders made an announcement in this regard Friday. Activist and member of SKM’s nine-member panel Yogendra Yadav will also join the protest. He urged the farmers to reach City Police Station of Tohana as part of their protest in the town against “illegal” arrests of farmers.
A police officer confirmed that a farmer, identified as Makkhan Singh, was arrested Friday, and raids have been conducted to arrest more farmers in connection with the confrontation with JJP MLA Devender Babli and his staffers on June 1.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait spent Thursday night with agitating farmers at Mayyar toll plaza on the Delhi-Hisar national highway near Hisar, in an act of solidarity with farmers arrested in connection with the Tohana clash.
Babli’s convoy was attacked, allegedly by a group of anti-farm law protesters, in Tohana’s market area on Tuesday, after a confrontation between the agitators and MLA over protest by farmers. Although Babli escaped unhurt, his PA was injured. Chadhuni had alleged that the protesters were lathicharged, which police denied. Sources said Babli was also caught on camera indulging in heated arguments and abusive language with the attackers in police presence.
Tikait, who turned 52 Friday, had gone to the Mayyar toll plaza Thursday to offer support to the farm protesters who had blocked the highway to oppose arrest of 27 farmers in connection with the protest near Babli’s residence. As many as 25 farmers were released Thursday, while two were sent to judicial custody. Tikait has demanded the release of all farmers.
To boost morale, Tikait told the protesters about how he was arrested 48 times while his father Mahendra Singh Tikait, a top farmer leader of his time, was arrested 350 times in connection with the different agitations.
“I went to jail 48 times. I don’t know how many cases have been lodged against me,” said Tikait, adding that once a notice for recovery of Rs 11 crore was also slapped on him. While referring to his father’s struggles, he said, “Mahendra Singh Tikait had to stay in the jail for a longer period because he used to refuse to sign the muchlaka (bond) to secure release from custody. Then, the authorities used to release him without his sign on the papers.”
Urging the agitators not to apply for bail applications, Tikait said, “Why do you apply for bail? If you fall in the trap of bail, for how long will you be able to fight your cases (in courts). In UP, we did not secure bail for even a single person (arrested for agitation) during the past 35 years.”
Calling upon the agitators to face the ruling dispensation “boldly”, the farmer leader said, “You have to struggle as this is the battle for the freedom of farmers. When the freedom struggle was going on, even then people were arrested and hanged outside their villages. The country got freedom after a struggle of 90 years.”
He further said: “You don’t get news of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but the agitation is going on across the country and the (BJP) government has been encircled from all sides.” He also claimed that dharnas have been started at a dozen toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh apart from a toll plaza in Uttarakhand.
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