Farmer protests intensify after Rakesh Tikait breaks down in tears at Ghazipur

This comes days after the farmer protests were maligned post-Republic Day violence

Ghazipur: Hundreds of farmers arrived at the Ghazipur protesting site after Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on Thursday broke down in tears, declaring that he was ready to “face bullets or kill himself”.

This comes days after the farmer protests were maligned post-Republic Day violence, and on Friday, hundreds of supporters arrived in support at Ghazipur, flouting direct orders by the police to clear the protest site.

Tikait on Thursday burst into tears while speaking to the media. He announced that the protests will continue no matter what. “We will not leave the site. 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,” he added.

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He even announced a hunger strike and declared that he was ‘ready to face bullets or kill himself’.

The war cry had an impact. By 11 pm, the numbers at Ghazipur once again started to swell. Groups of farmers from Meerut, Baraut, Baghpat and Muradnagar reached the site to lend their support to Rakesh Tikait. Hundreds of followers also gathered outside Rakesh Tikait’s house in UP’s Sisauli, chanting slogans in his support.

His brother Naresh Tikait had announced that a Mahapanchayat will take place in Muzaffarnagar to discuss the plan ahead.

“We couldn’t stop ourselves after we saw tears in Tikait saab’s eyes,” said a farmer who returned to the Ghazipur protest site told NDTV.

Support pours in from political parties

Leaders from various political parties came in support for Tikait’s call. From Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to Left parties, reached the Ghazipur border to show solidarity. AAP leaders, including Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, cabinet minister Satyendra Jain and MLA Raghav Chadha met Tikait.

Earlier, leaders of 18 opposition parties also boycotted the President’s customary address to a joint sitting of parliament ahead of the budget session in order to show solidarity with the farmers and their protest against the three farm bills.

Meanwhile, in Lucknow, police have put up barricades on Bijnor’s border points and are checking every vehicle in order to stop people from joining the protest in Ghazipur. “Section 144 and Covid protocols are in place. The protest site at the Ghazipur-Delhi border has been declared ‘unlawful’. And so if any farmer takes a four-wheeler, two-wheeler, or tractor towards that site, we will take strict action,” Bijnor police chief Dr Dharm Veer Singh told media persons.

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