Farmer Protests: BKU Rally Attracts 50,000 as Delhi Police Take

By: Sashwata Saha
03 Feb 2021 11:48:17 PM Delhi

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait addressed a Kandela Khap farmers’ gathering at Haryana’s Jind district on Wednesday, calling for unity and support for the farmers’ cause. The organisers are claiming that over 50,000 people in tractors, trolleys, and their personal vehicles have gathered the venue. 


The farmers’ protest received international support as teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, pop singer Rihana, and US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece and child rights lawyer Meena came out in support against the Centre’s new agriculture laws. Reacting to this, a Ministry of External Affairs statement said that it was “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.”


Earlier today, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a clutch of petitions demanding judicial investigations into the violence during the tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day. The court also dismissed another petition seeking direction to the media not to declare farmers as ‘terrorists’ without any evidence.


Meanwhile, iron nails, rods, barbed wire, boulders and makeshift walls are being used to barricade Delhi's borders against lakhs of protesting farmers. The polices of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have deployed officers and drones at the sites, and have begun blocking the area around the protests, effectively cutting the farmers off from roads into the city.


While this enhanced security has been called “war-like” by some farmers, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava defended the barricading. “I am surprised that when tractors were used, police were attacked, barricades were broken on January 26, no questions were raised,” he was quoted by news agency ANI.


Earlier on Tuesday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said that there could be no “formal” talks with the government until the multiple layers of barricading put up at the borders by the Delhi Police and the curtailment of internet services is lifted. Tikait said the police barricading could not stop the farmers and they were ready to continue their protests till October-November.


Farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi against the three agricultural bills passed in October 2020. Among their demands is the current mandi system not be destroyed and that the government ensure a minimum support price guarantee for their dealings with the corporates. Seeing that the government is willing to bend for neither, the farmers are now demanding for the laws to be repealed.


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