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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Rakesh Tikait ups the ante, farm leader says his UP call hasty

Darshan Pal's comments came after Tikait had said there would be no road blockade in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: February 7, 2021 8:45:19 pm
Rakesh Tikait, BKU leader, Darshan Pal, Farmers protest, farmers chakka jam, indian express newsFarmers collected soil and sowed sugarcane and potato at the Ghazipur border on Saturday. (Photo: Amit Mehra)

Senior farmer leader Darshan Pal Saturday said the decision by BKU leader Rakesh Tikait to not hold a chakka jam in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand was taken in “a hasty manner” and it would have been better had he first discussed his plan with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM).

Pal’s comments came after Tikait had said there would be no road blockade in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. “It would have been better if Rakesh Tikait had talked and discussed about his proposal of not having chakka jam in UP and Uttarakhand with us before telling the media. He, of course, did discuss it with the SKM later and it was a joint thing,” Pal told reporters at a press conference at Singhu border.

He, however, clarified that everything is fine within the SKM and people shouldn’t assume there are any differences between the leaders.

Earlier in the day at Ghazipur, Tikait said farmer leaders called off the chakka jam in UP and Uttarakhand as they received information about “external elements” trying to instigate violence: “We found out that locals in UP and Uttarakhand were provided with national and farmer union flags and told to block highways… and asked to clash with police. To avoid any such incident, we called off the chakka jam there. If we catch miscreants who are trying to discredit our movement, we will inform police.”

Later in the evening, the SKM issued a statement claiming chakka jam was also held in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

‘Ready to stay till Oct 2’

Congratulating protesters at Ghazipur for ensuring the blockade remained peaceful, Tikait said he will stay at the borders till October 2 if the Centre doesn’t repeal the three farm laws.

Addressing farmers, Tikait claimed police, citing the National Green Tribunal ban on entry of old diesel vehicles in the capital, are sending notices to protesters for bringing tractors older than 10-12 years. He said this won’t stop farmers and they will soon bring 40 lakh tractors to Delhi’s borders.

“We are ready for discussions but the government is not letting us protest here. They want to scare us. I have come to know that police are sending notices to farmers who are arriving here on their tractors. They don’t want us to be here and have pulled out the NGT order…,” said Tikait.

Meanwhile, farmers at the border said police are trying to scare them by extending barricades and tightening security. On Friday, Tikait and some farmers had planted flower saplings near the barricades as a “response” to the spikes placed on the roads by police. However, on Saturday, police threw away the plants and extended the barricades.

Standing near the barricades with a flower pot, Subhash Singh, a farmer from UP’s Amroha, said: “Police are trying to silence and scare us. We brought soil from our farms and planted saplings. It was to show that we are standing here with flowers and will be peaceful. But police removed the saplings, threw the pots and placed barricades on top of the soil.”

A senior police officer at the border said, “We didn’t destroy any plants. Farmers had planted saplings but in view of the chakka jam, we had to extend barricading. So, we put the plants on the road. On Saturday, farmers asked us to remove the barricades so they could plant saplings at the same spot. We told them we can’t remove barricades. They can grow plants elsewhere.”

Farmers also claimed they fixed their union and religious flags in the soil but police threw those away. Harish Tomar, a sugarcane farmer from Baghpat, said, “Police have put four-five layers of barricades on one stretch. What is the purpose of this? We are not going to hurt anyone.”

With Inputs From PTI

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