GHAZIABAD: With the farmers’ protest over the Centre’s farm laws in its eighth month now, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has adopted a new strategy to balance the number of protesters at the Ghazipur border.
The directions are simple, one village, 10 people and 15 days.
“We have asked all supporters who are planning to join the protest here at Ghazipur to ensure that there should be only 10 people from one village who are prepared to stay here for 15 days,” BKU’s co-media in-charge Saurabh Upadhyay told PTI.
“This way we want to ensure that a balance is maintained in the number of farmers at the protest site in Ghazipur. We have around 4,000 to 5,000 people at present,” he said.
The BKU is part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers’ unions.
The BKU has a large support base in Uttar Pradesh, especially the western part of the state, besides Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, from where scores of people have joined the ongoing protest at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
At Ghazipur, farmer leader and BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait has been leading the charge.
The farmers, who are occupying a stretch on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and camping under a flyover at the UP Gate, braved the bone-chilling winter and the scorching summer heat.
They are getting ready to face the monsoon rains now.
“No doubt winter and summer were difficult to bear as it’s an open space. The monsoon could also be a trying time for us with the kind of arrangements we have but efforts are on to ensure we have adequate facilities here for the farmers to stay,” Upadhyay said.
“We are covering our temporary shelter structures with new tarpaulin sheets to prevent entry of water during rains. We have also informed the farmers who are planning to join the protest in the coming days to come prepared with arrangements for sleeping and cooking on their tractor-trolleys during rains,” he said.
The protesters are procuring potable water from Ghaziabad through tankers every day and the local administration has been largely cooperative, he added.
Besides Ghazipur, farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s border points of Singhu and Tikri since November last year.
The agitating farmers have been demanding that the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee minimum support price for their crops.
The government has maintained the laws are pro-farmer and will usher in new technology in farming.
Several rounds of talks between the farmers and the government have failed to break the deadlock over these contentious laws.