As farmers from Haryana and Punjab march towards Delhi against the three controversial farm laws, farmers in Uttar Pradesh on Friday blocked several roads and staged sit-ins in various districts in solidarity with the “Delhi Chalo” rally. The call to protest was given by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Rakesh Tikait.
Hundreds of farmers hit the street in Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Rampur, Sambhal and other districts. Senior police officers claimed that the protests were peaceful and no untoward incident took place. ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said the farmers have been given permission to march towards Delhi.
In Lucknow, around 100 farmers blocked Deva road another 150 protesters staged a sit-in at Sultanpur road. In the afternoon, some farmers gathered at the BKU office in Chinhat area and started marching towards Ahmamau.
Earlier, BKU had called for a protest at Ahmamau under the Sushant Golf City police station area in Lucknow.
While heavy police force was deployed in these areas, several farmers were stopped from leaving their respective villages. Chinhat Station House Officer (SHO) Dhananjay Pandey said the farmers and their leader Harnam Singh Verma gathered at Deva road were detained and taken to Eco-Garden, the official protest site in Lucknow.
“They have not been arrested but detained so that there is no law-and-order situation,” said the SHO.
Sushant Golf City SHO Sachin Kumar Singh said the farmers tried to jam the Lucknow-Sultanpur highway and were taken to Eco-Garden. Another group gathered in Mohanlalganj area under the leadership of Gurdeep Singh but was stopped by police.
In Agra, former minister and Samajwadi Party leader Abhishek Mishra participated in a protest on the Lucknow-Agra expressway in favour of the ongoing protests.
Talking to The Indian Express, Mishra claimed that around 500 farmers gathered and the protest was mostly peaceful.
“It was a big protest and that is why there were more police personnel than the farmers. While the farmers were planning to jam the roads but we convinced them to use their right enshrined in a democracy and lodge a peaceful protest. As a result, the police did not find any excuse to cane charge. The farmers are feeling cheated and it seems like the entire agricultural value chain is being disrupted by the government action,” said Mishra, claiming that the SP fully support farmers.
Other places hit by farmers’ stir included Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat and Gautam Budh Nagar in western UP, besides Jhansi and Jalaun in its Bundelkhand region, where people gathered on roads, resulting in considerable blockades and traffic disruptions.
The key roads affected by the stir included Delhi-Dehradun National Highway and Jhansi-Mirzapur highway.
BKU activists blocked the Delhi-Dehradun National Highway at Nawla Kothi in Muzaffarnagar district and staged sit-ins in various places in Meerut and Baghpat.
In Baghpat, BKU activists blocked traffic on the Sonipat highway using tractors.
Baghpat Superintendent of Police Abhishek Singh said in order to maintain law and order situation, magistrates and police have been deployed in strength in Nivada area, bordering Haryana.
In Jhansi, farmers held protests in Mauranipur and Moth tehsils, where they accused the government of working against their interests. The agitation continued for over two hours here, officials said.
In Jalaun, farmers blocked Jhansi-Mirzapur highway but the police later managed to restore the traffic there.
ADG Prashant Kumar said that protests were peaceful and no violence or scuffle with police was reported in the state.
“The protest was absolutely peaceful, and as of now, farmers have got permission to protest in Delhi. They can go there if they want. Our officers were already on alert, and by talking to the farmers and their leaders, they managed the situation. Unlike incidents of violence in some other states, there was nothing like that in our state,” said Kumar, suggesting that given that this is a dynamic situation, the police will continue to be on alert.
—With PTI Inputs
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