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Shamli admin says no to mahapanchayat, organisers stay firm

The move comes days after similar gatherings saw the participation of thousands in other parts of UP, including in Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat, to protest against the three contentious farm laws.

Written by Amit Sharma | Meerut |
Updated: February 5, 2021 2:24:24 pm
Farmers gathered at Ghazipur border for a Kisan mahapanchayat. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha)

The Shamli district administration has denied permission for the fifth mahapanchayat in west UP at Bhainswal village on Friday, citing “unruly behaviour by farmers” at the tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day and “violation of Covid guidelines” by protesters.

Shamli DM Jasjit Kaur has issued directions that Section 144 of the CrPC — prohibiting any public gathering of four or more than four persons — be implemented strictly in the district from February 4 till April 3.

However, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the organiser of the mahapanchayat, asserted the denial is not going to deter the participants. “They (police) are free to open fire on us or put us in jail but we are not going to call off our pre-decided programme,” Sunil Rohta, the RLD’s state spokesman, told The Indian Express on phone.

In a jibe at the administration for invoking Section 144, RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary tweeted, “144 reasons why I will go to Shamli tomorrow!”

The move comes days after similar gatherings saw the participation of thousands in other parts of UP, including in Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat, to protest against the three contentious farm laws.

Shamli SDM Sandeep Kumar has sent a letter to RLD leaders who had sought permission for the mahapanchayat in Shamli on Friday. “We had sought reports from the local police station, the intelligence unit and the local fire department, and all of these have suggested that holding of such an assemblage will turn out to be a threat to the peace of the district, which forced us to not give permission,” Kumar said.

However, Sunil Rohta said, “It is up to the local administration… but I want to make it clear that the denial is not going to deter the participants who are ready to fight for repeal of the three farm laws come what may.”

SP spokesman Sunil Panwar said farmers from all districts are expected to pour in Shamli as “we have made personal appeals to them to demonstrate our unity and strength to the dictatorial government at the Centre and state”.

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