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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Roads blocked but Ghazipur numbers swell, many show up with rations, water

“We are here to stay. My wife and children are taking care of the farm now. She also wept when she saw Tikait weeping on TV," Subodh Kumar said.

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: January 31, 2021 6:15:50 pm
farmers protests, farmers protests delhi borders, twitter accounts withheld, internet ban, farmers chakka jam, Farm laws, India news, indian express newsFarmers and their supporters at the Ghazipur border on Jan 30, 2021. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

A day after they attended the Muzaffarnagar mahapanchayat to rally behind BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, hundreds of farmers from villages in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana showed up at the Ghazipur protest site Saturday — on tractors and trucks loaded with rations and water bottles.

Subodh Kumar, a farmer from Khanjarpur who came to the Delhi-UP border with three friends, bought tarps and wires along the way and set up a tent near the flyover at the border.

“We are here to stay. My wife and children are taking care of the farm now. She also wept when she saw Tikait weeping on TV. Police can’t arrest him, he didn’t do anything wrong. I have some vegetables and rice with me… I will cook or donate it at the langar. We will also help farmers with the seva by cleaning roads,” he said.

With the numbers swelling at the border, BKU and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) workers also sent water and food for farmers. Deshpal Singh, a member of BKU, who runs one of the langars on NH-24, said, “Earlier, we were cooking for over 1,000 people. Now, I think there are more than 3,000 farmers. My family members have also joined the protest.

Everyone is giving us ration, and we have called two more cooks from Shamli to help prepare the langar.”

Singh said his brothers send five tractors from Baghpat and Shamli every day, with 5,000 water cans in each vehicle.

“There’s shortage of water here. The Delhi government is helping, but we have more protesters now,” he said.

A group of RLD workers, farmers said, also sent vegetables from Muzaffarnagar and nearby villages.

Farmers at Ghazipur border (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

With Delhi Police and UP Police having sealed almost four routes leading to the border, farmers are travelling via the Amroha-Ghaziabad road or Mohan Nagar in Ghaziabad to reach the protest site — navigating through three layers of barricading on the highway and other roads.

By Saturday afternoon, roads adjacent to the flyover were packed with protesters and langar stalls.

Shouting slogans in support of Tikait, farmers said they have called their relatives and friends to the border. “We don’t want Tikait sahab to weep again. Police will continue to harass us; they have blocked almost all routes but they can’t stop farmers who are ready to protest here for a year. I told my friends to come and join the protest. We will make weekly trips to take care of our farms, or our wives and children will stay there. For now, we need more people here to fight,” said Rakesh Gautam, a farmer from Shamli.

Anil Chaudhary, a sugarcane farmer from Meerut who joined the protest early in the morning, said, “We were told to get vegetables from our village for the langar. We came from Mohan Nagar because police don’t let anyone enter from other directions. We have also told our friends to bring food via that route.”

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