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Farmers’ rally in Noida goes off peacefully

Noida: In Noida, the farmers’ protest and tractor rally remained peaceful on Republic Day
By Shafaque Alam
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 11:41 PM IST

Noida: In Noida, the farmers’ protest and tractor rally remained peaceful on Republic Day. However, a group of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) members blocked the Delhi-Noida road near Chilla border claiming that the police shortened the rally route to only two kilometres. Yogesh Pratap Singh, state president of the BKU’s Bhanu faction went on a sit-in protest with some other farmers at the Chilla border for about three hours.

“We were very upset at the way the government handled the protest. First, the Uttar Pradesh government detained several farmers in different districts and also seized their tractors to stop them from participating in the rally. On Tuesday, we had planned to visit Mayur Vihar and then to Akshardham. But the Delhi police had placed multiple layered barricades on the way,” he said.

The farmers used tractors to remove one barricade year Mayur Vihar. However, they were stopped again near the Mayur Vihar Extension metro station and asked to take a U-turn to Chilla border, after which the farmers returned and blocked the Delhi-Noida road in protest from 1pm to 4pm.

Members of the BKU-Bhanu faction had started gathering at Chilla border since Tuesday morning. Around 300 farmers marched towards Mayur Vihar in 50 tractors and 50 other vehicles such as cars and SUVs. Some of the farmers were seen sitting on tractors’ bonnets and were chanting slogans. The tractors were seen sporting tricolours and stickers saying “I love kisan.” The BKU-Bhanu’s tractor rally was held from 12pm to 1pm.

Fourteen-year-old Chand Saifi was seen participating in the rally on his skateboard. “I am a student of class VIII in Aligarh. I have come from my home to participate in the rally and extend support to the farmers,” he said. When asked about his skateboard, he said that on Republic Day, the police personnel demonstrate their skills. “I am also demonstrating my skills of skating. This is what a farmer’s son can do,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the BKU’s Lok Shakti faction organised a parallel tractor rally starting from the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal to the Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) Flyway to Mayur Vihar and New Ashok Nagar, after which they returned.

SK Giri, general secretary and a spokesperson of the BKU-Lok Shakti, said that over 100 vehicles participated in the rally. “We had organised a meeting before the rally and sensitised farmers to maintain discipline. The police team accompanied us throughout the way. The programme was peaceful,” he said.

Satyapal Yadav, a resident of Behlolpur village in Noida, was seen mounted on a tractor and playing ‘nagara’ (large drum) in the BKU-Lok Shakti rally. “Nagara is played on big festivals like Holi. Republic Day and the tractor rally are no less than Holi,” he said.

Before the tractor rally started, a tractor overturned at the Chilla border in which a farmer leader, Rajiv Nagar, received minor injuries. The driver was allegedly performing stunts but lost balance and the tractor overturned.

Kumar Ranvijay Singh, additional deputy commissioner of police, Noida, said that the farmers’ protest in Noida remained peaceful. “The BKU-Bhanu members were confused over the route. They had to take a right turn from the first barricade in Mayur Vihar for New Ashok Nagar. But they breached the barricade and marched forward. The Delhi Police stopped them ahead and made them turn back,” he said.

He said the police spoke to the protesting farmers after which the Delhi-Noida road at the Chilla border reopened at 4pm. The Noida-Delhi side of the road remains closed since December 1 due to the farmers’ protest.

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