Updated: February 8, 2021 12:22:35 pm
Addressing A huge crowd at a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Haryana on Sunday, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said, “We will not return to our homes till the Centre’s farm laws aren’t repealed.”
Thousands of farmers attended the mahapanchayat held at Kitlana toll plaza on Charkhi Dadri-Bhiwani national highway (NH-148B) near Bhiwani, where Tikait and prominent farmer leaders from Punjab Balbir Singh Rajewal and Dr Darshan Pal spoke.
Meanwhile, almost 160 km away from Kitlana toll plaza, another ‘Kisan Mahapanchyat’ was underway at Sunheda of Mewat area where BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni addressed a mass gathering. Chaduni said the agitation is now not limited to a state, but spreading to the entire country. Accompanied by various religious leaders, he said: “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai, aapas me hain bhai-bhai (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers).”
At Kitlana toll plaza, Tikait said, “We will go across the country to spread awareness (against the three farm laws). This is a mass movement which won’t be unsuccessful. We won’t return to our homes till these laws are not repealed.”
The farmer leader said efforts will be made to break the agitation on caste lines. “When this agitation started, they tried to divide farmers on the lines of Punjab and Haryana, sardars and non-sardars. They will try to divide you on the basis of different khaps too but you have to stand united. Such type of fortification of unity has developed this time only. We have to keep it intact. I congratulate the 40-member committee of farmer leaders in which there is not even a single weak person.”
Senior khap leaders including independent MLA from Dadri Sombir Sangwan, who withdrew support from BJP-JJP government over farm laws, were present at the mahapanchayat. Hailing the role of khaps, Tikait said, “Khaps had fought against the Britishers too. Khaps always came out in difficult circumstances to offer help. We need their support today too.”
The mahapanchayat insisted that the farm laws be repealed, and demanded enactment of a law to ensure minimum support price (MPS) of crops and withdrawal of cases lodged against farmers during the ongoing stir. “The farmers were taken to Red Fort deceivingly. We won’t tolerate such tactics,” said Tikait.
Former Haryana IAS officer S K Goyal, who also attended the mahapanchayat, said the protests against the government are being called “anti-national, jihadi, urban naxals, funded by Pakistan and Khalistani” but since the farmer agitation has become a mass movement, “the government of the day won’t able to demonise it”. A former special secretary (home) in the Haryana government, Goyal has held meetings in several Haryana villages, speaking to villagers about the “adverse effects of three farm laws”.
Expressing shock and disappointment over the deaths of more than 150 farmers during the agitation, Goyal said that the government has not shown any sympathy or empathy for them, adding that he hopes “good sense will prevail on our rulers”.
The former bureaucrat demanded ex-gratia compensation of Rs 1 crore to each of the families of farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing stir, and one job to the nearest kin and “status of shaheed” for the deceased.
Goyal said that as a patriot, he too was perturbed over what happened on January 26. ”But the government had done precious little to round up people like Deep Sidhu whose video had gone viral…instead of Deep Sidhu, an innocent journalist Mandeep Punia was rounded up by police,” he added.
He urged the authorities “not to hound innocent farmers and journalists in false cases and accede to the just demands of farmers without delay”. He warned that the farmers would not be cowed down by the oppression.
Tikait praised BKU leader from Punjab, Balbir Singh Rajewal, who was present on the occasion, for providing a sound leadership to the stir.
He also made a mention of the tragedy caused by a glacier burst at Joshimath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, leading to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and causing large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas.
The BKU leader, whose emotional appeal recently had revived the protest that was losing momentum after the January 26 violence in Delhi, said people from different section of society were leading and part of the stir.
Meanwhile, taking a lesson from the Jind Mahapanchayat where the stage had collapsed, the organisers had brick-lined the stage this time.
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