Ghaziabad, western UP witnesses low-key farmer protests - Hindustan Times
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Ghaziabad, western UP witnesses low-key farmer protests

By, Ghaziabad
Feb 22, 2024 05:48 AM IST

The protest call for Wednesday was given by Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farm unions that had led 2020-21 farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders

Even as the standoff between the police and farmer groups led by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) (non political) and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee Morcha (KMM) continued for the ninth day at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana, certain farmer groups in Ghaziabad and western Uttar Pradesh (UP) on Wednesday staged low-key protests in support.

Farmers and supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union on Wednesday protested at the district headquarters in Ghaziabad and submitted a memorandum with their long-pending demands for urgent action. (Hindustan Times)
Farmers and supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union on Wednesday protested at the district headquarters in Ghaziabad and submitted a memorandum with their long-pending demands for urgent action. (Hindustan Times)

Scores of farmers and supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) arrived at the Ghaziabad district headquarters on Wednesday and staged a protest pressing for their demands, which included a law on the minimum support price (MSP). They also seek the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases registered during the 2020-21 protest and “justice” for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, among others.

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The protest call for Wednesday was given by Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farm unions that had led 2020-21 farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders. The SKM on February 16 also observed a ‘Grameen Bandh (rural strike)’ in which farmers and workers abstained from work for a day.

“The protest at the district headquarters was peaceful and we handed over a memorandum to the district officials. The list of 15 demands include a check on price rise, exemption of essential items from GST, and housing for all, among others. Similar protests were carried on in different districts of UP,” said Shamsher Rana, media coordinator of BKU.

Abhishek Srivastava, assistant commissioner of police, Kavi Nagar, said, “The protest was peaceful and farmers left after submitting a memorandum to the administration.”

Nimish Patil, deputy commissioner of police (trans-Hindon), said the deployment at the UP Gate border with Delhi, near Ghazipur, remains in place and “checks by the Delhi Police slowed down traffic on Delhi-Meerut Expressway. No farmer turned up to protest at UP Gate”.

The different farmer leaders are of the view that they need to scale up protests and more unions are expected to ultimately join the protests currently led by SKM (non political) and KMM.

“The farmers unions are protesting in different ways but the key issues remain the same. If the protest at Shambhu border gets prolonged, the other farm unions would get drawn into it. The talks with the Union government should continue but they should also bear some fruit,” said Dharmendra Malik, national spokesperson of BKU (non political).

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which led the 2020-21 farmers’ protests, appealed for “issue based countrywide unity in struggles” while morally supporting the protest at Shambu border.

“We welcome SKM (non political) and KMM’s rejection of anti-farmer proposal of contract farming by the Union minister. The decision will pave way for greater unity among farmers ,” SKM said in a statement.

The SKM (non political) is a faction which fractured from the SKM after the 2020-21 protests.

“The SKM is holding a meeting on Thursday to decide the future course of action. The SKM is already raising a protest in their own manner and supporting the issues raised by SKM (non political) and KMM,” said Jagtar Singh Bajwa, farmer leader from Uttarakhand who led SKM’s 2020-21 protest at UP Gate.

Tractor marches in west UP

In a show of solidarity with the farmers of Punjab and Haryana, protesting at Shambu border for the last nine days, farmers took out tractor marches in several districts of western Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

While Rakesh Tikait, BKU leader, led the tractor march in Meerut, BKU chief Naresh Tikait led the demonstration in Muzaffarnagar.

They reached the collectorates of their respective districts and staged dharnas before handing over memorandums to officials with their demands.

Addressing the gathering at Meerut collectorate, Rakesh said the BJP government prioritises entrepreneurs over farmers. He emphasised that if there were a government representing farmers’ interests, a law guaranteeing MSP would have been enacted by now.

“Further strategies will be decided in a meeting of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha on Thursday,” he said.

Similar tractor marches were organised in Saharanpur, Hapur, Bulandshahar, Amroha, Sambhal, Bijnor, Shamli, Bagpat, and other districts of western UP.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Peeyush Khandelwal writes on a range of issues in western Uttar Pradesh – from crime, to development authorities and from infrastructure to transport. Based in Ghaziabad, he has been a journalist for almost a decade.

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