Farmers from villages in Western Uttar Pradesh and those at the Ghazipur protest site claim police have been dissuading them from joining the sit-in, with many being stopped briefly as they head to the border.
On Thursday, local Bharatiya Kisan Union leaders and gurdwara functionaries from Banda block in Shahjahanpur district were summoned to Banda police station.
Kuldeep Singh, district general secretary of BKU from a Jodhpur village, claimed: “Last evening, a sub-inspector called and asked for my vehicle registration number and driving licence details. He called again on Thursday and said I had to come for a meeting with senior police officers. At the station, there were farmer union functionaries from various villages in our block and people from the Sikh community. We were told we should cooperate with local police, and were discouraged from going towards Delhi. When some of us were insistent, police said we should go in small cars and not tractors.” The previous day, police had summoned farmer union functionaries from nearby villages to Khutar police station in the same district.
Confirming that the meetings were held, SP, Shahjahanpur, S Anand, said: “We want to educate farmers that the agitation is not required as the government is willing to speak to everyone on this issue. The idea was to motivate them to not indulge in things that aggravate problems and to move towards a solution instead.”
According to farmer unions, earlier this week, multiple tractor-trolleys from the vicinity had been stopped several times before they could reach Ghazipur.
“On December 21, farmers in 15 tractor-trolleys and cars from Bareilly mandal left for Ghazipur border. This included farmers from Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit districts. There were attempts to stop us at multiple places in Shahjahanpur and Bareilly… we were stopped overnight in Rampur. Many local farmers came to our aid, and we were allowed to go ahead at 11 am on December 22. We were stopped again that evening in Moradabad for several hours. We finally reached Delhi on Wednesday morning,” said Ajeet Singh, Bareilly mandal president.
Now, farmers from the region have planned to congregate at Nawabganj gurdwara in Rampur district and head towards Delhi together. “The plan is for farmers from that area as well as from villages in Uttarakhand such as Bajpur, Kashipur, Gadarpur and Udham Singh Nagar to leave together in the morning. This will make it difficult for police to stop them,” said Gurpreet Atwal, a farmer from Rampur district, who is at the protest site.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa also left for the Nawabganj gurdwara on Thursday. He said: “Some farmers had contacted me when they were stopped at Rampur earlier this week; I had gone there to intervene. I am now going to Nawabganj as farmers fear they will be stopped again.”
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