Groups of farmers from Uttar Pradesh arrived at the Ghazipur protest site at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on Thursday in pushback against the administration’s order to vacate the site, after Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait tearfully declared that he would rather die by suicide than end the agitation.
Heavy security had been deployed at the site in view of the violence at the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally. However, on Thursday the Ghaziabad district magistrate gave an ultimatum to the farmers to leave the site by midnight.
Tikait made an emotional appeal to his supporters at the protest site and declared that the protest against the farming laws will continue. The BKU leader added that he will ask more people to join the protest if required.
Later, he broke down in tears while speaking to the media. “We will not leave the site,” Tikait said. “We will face bullets, but not leave the protest. There is a conspiracy to end this agitation, but it will not end. They want to destroy the farmers.”
Tikait’s message had an immediate impact. Back in his hometown of Sisauli in Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of people gathered outside his home and shouted slogans in his support. His brother Naresh Tikait announced that a “mahapanchayat” will be held in Muzaffarnagar to discuss the plan ahead.
Rakesh Tikait and several other farmer leaders have been named in a first information report filed by the Delhi Police in connection with the tractor rally violence. The police have also issued look out notices against them.
Meanwhile, reports emerged of farmers from Haryana driving to Delhi in the night to support the protests. Farmers also blocked the Jind-Chandigarh National Highway near Kandela village, according to The Indian Express.
As many as 1,000 police personnel, three companies of Central Armed Police Forces and six companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary were deployed at Ghazipur amid the tensions, The Indian Express reported.
Tractor rally violence
Dramatic scenes unfolded in Delhi on Tuesday as farmers protesting against the agricultural laws clashed with the police, who used tear gas and batons to control them. One protestor was killed in the clashes in Delhi’s ITO area. The Delhi Police said 394 of its officers had been injured across the city.
Prominent farmer unions and leaders distanced themselves from the violence, and blamed it on certain “anti social elements”.
However, several farmer leaders, including Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav and Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit President Gurnam Singh Chaduni, were named in one of the first information reports filed by the police. As many as 19 people have been arrested for the violence.