Updated: February 18, 2021 5:12:10 pm
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait Thursday reiterated that the protesting farmers will not go back to harvesting until their demands are met and warned the government that they will burn their crops if they are forced to return.
Asserting that the farmers are adamant on the removal of all three agricultural laws completely, Tikait, addressing a protest rally in Haryana’s Kharak Punia, said that the Centre shouldn’t be under any misconception that the farmers will go back to crop harvesting and that the protests would end in two months.
“If they insist, then we will burn our crops,” Tikait said, and added, “We will harvest as well as protest”.
He further said that crop prices have not increased even as fuel prices have gone up. “If the Centre ruins the situation, we will take our tractors to West Bengal as well. Farmers are not getting MSP there also,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Thousands of protesting farmers on Thursday sat on railway tracks at many places in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as part of the ‘rail roko’ protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, with officials stopping trains at stations as a precautionary measure.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions, which is spearheading the protest, last week had announced the nationwide rail blockade to press for its demand to repeal the legislations and had said that the agitation will be from 12 pm to 4 pm.
The farmers have been protesting since late November at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the 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.
The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.
Earlier last week, Tikait had asserted that the agitating farmers were not aiming at any change in power at the Centre but a solution to their problems. Tikait said that the agitation will be long drawn and continue till government starts talks with farmer leaders.
He also asserted that the unity of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) was intact and warned the government not to be in any illusion.
– With PTI inputs
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