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Farmers protest: Thousands converge on Ghazipur despite growing number of barricades | India News


NEW DELHI: Despite an increasing number of barricades, thousands of farmers have been converging in Ghazipur, on the border between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, after the leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Rakesh Tikait, made a passionate appeal the protesters to reinforce the uproar.
The tide of the more than two-month-long protest against the farm laws, which had lost its luster after the violence in Delhi during the Republic Day tractor parade, appears to have regained momentum, as evidenced by the rising numbers of tents set up at the protest site.
Many protesters waited for hours to speak with Tikait or take a selfie with him while the peasant leader remained busy meeting with his supporters and speaking to the media.
A member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said that Tikait has been sleeping for only about three hours a day for the past three days. “He had complained of blood pressure problems, but now he’s fine,” said the member.
Shiromani Akal Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal visited the Ghazipur border to support protesting farmers. Badal, whose party withdrew from the NDA government because of the three agricultural laws, met with Tikait for about 10 minutes.
The farmers, wearing tricolor and raising slogans, held marches, while a group of young people gathered at a place near the Delhi-Meerut highway and danced to patriotic songs until the sun set.
The scene was quite different just three days ago.
One day after the Republic Day violence in Delhi, when a section of farmers participating in the tractor parade broke through the barriers, confronted the police and stormed the Red Fort for a few hours, the agitation of the farmers seemed to have finished. Morale plummeted and many farmers returned home.
On Wednesday night, the atmosphere was tense in Ghazipur. The Ghaziabad administration issued an “ultimatum” to protesters occupying a section of the Delhi-Meerut highway to leave, as the January 26 clashes painted a not-so-peaceful picture of the peasant community.
As the security presence at the scene intensified and fears grew that protesters would be forcibly evicted, an emotional Tikait broke down while speaking to reporters.
“The protest will not be canceled. Farmers face injustice,” he said and even threatened to end his life for the cause.
A layer of barbed wire fencing was added to the existing multi-layer barricades at the protest site. But that couldn’t stop people from reaching the area where farmers have been camping since late November.
Sarita Rana, a member of BKU from Gurgaon, said she walked two kilometers to reach the protest site. Rana said that she and her husband were unable to get some sleep the night they saw a video of Tikait crying.
“We have never seen him cry. It touched us,” he said.
“The government has been trying to thwart the protest by blocking roads and removing facilities such as water and power supplies. But this has strengthened our determination to keep fighting,” Rana said.
Farmers kept arriving with cans full of water from their hometown for their beloved leader. According to an estimate by a BKU member, more than 10,000 farmers have gathered at the UP Gate protest site on Sunday.
Tikait said that he respects the feelings of the protesters and that the cans filled with water will be emptied into the Ganges.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly broadcast, where on Sunday he argued that his government is committed to the “modernization” of agriculture and has been taking many steps, many urged him to listen to ‘Mann ki Baat’ from farmers.
“If a politician can come to our house asking for our votes, why can’t they come to us here to resolve the issue? If Prime Minister Modi wants to speak, he should give us a phone number to call,” 64-year-old said. Satbir Singh from the Jind district of Haryana.
Ravinder Singh, 63, from Hapur in Uttar Pradesh, said farmers want to return to their fields, “but that will only happen when all three laws are repealed and a legal guarantee is provided that guarantees a minimum price support.”

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