Thousands of farmers attend Kisan mahapanchayat' in Muzaffarnagar 

Express News Service

MUZAFFARNAGAR: Thousands of farmers from Uttar Pradesh and adjoining states thronged the GIC ground in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday giving the clarion call to uproot BJP governments from UP and Uttarakhand in upcoming assembly elections while reiterating their demand to repeal three contentious farm laws promulgated last year.

The farmers, who had turned up in large numbers to attend the mahapanchayat, also resolved to continue their protest till their victory and took a vow to ‘save the country’ from the present government.

They also gave a call for Bharat Bandh on September 27 in support of their demands.

“They (the Centre) said only a handful of farmers are protesting. Let them see how few are protesting. Let us raise our voices so it reaches the ears of those sitting in Parliament,” multiple speakers at the dais stated.

Speaking at the event, organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), national spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Rakesh Tikait said that the farmers would continue with their agitation and such mahapanchayats would be organised across the country in the coming days.

“We have to stop the country from getting sold. Farmers should be saved, the country should be saved; business, employees and youth should be saved–this is the aim of this mahapanchayat,” said Tikait while addressing the mammoth gathering of farmers.

Prominent among those present on the dais of mahapanchayat included Yogendra Yadav, activist Medha Patkar, CPM leader Atul Anjan and others. Tikait said that the protest on Delhi border and other sites would continue.

“We will not back out even if our graves are dug at the protest sites. We will not return till our victory. We want guarantee over MSP,” he asserted.

Accusing the present centre and state governments of diving people on communal lines, BKU leader Tikait shouted slogans of ‘Allah-ho-Akbar’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ at the stage claiming that earlier people used to chant these slogans together but were divided on religious lines.

While spelling out the ‘Mission UP’, Tikait said the land of Uttar Pradesh would not be lent to those who orchestrated communal riots in the past.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha — the umbrella body of 40 farmer unions spearheading the farmers” agitation — said the “mahapanchayat” proved that the agitation had the support of “all castes, religions, states, classes, small traders and all sections of the society”.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Sunday described through a tweet the protesting farmers as “our own flesh and blood” and suggested that the government should re-engage with them in reaching common ground.

The show of strength could be a wakeup call for the ruling BJP as the mahapanchayat had the support of not only the khaps led by jats but also some Muslim khaps of western UP.

In fact, during the last three elections, BJP has been putting up very impressive show in western UP which has around 130 of 403assembly seats.

The Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 had driven a deep chasm between the Jats and Muslims resulting in huge polarisation of votes as Jats supported the BJP overwhelmingly. But in the wake of farmers’ unrest, the two communities are seen coming together giving jitters to the BJP camp.

The gathering at Muzaffarnagar on Sunday also protested against the atrocities by the police they faced in Haryana’s Karnal on August 28.

Around 8,000 security men were deployed to maintain law and order at the gathering. According to ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar, 25 companies of PAC and 20 officers of Meerut zone were deployed to address the security concerns.

However, BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik claimed that farmers belonging to 300 organisations from different states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, among others, had gathered for the event.

He said over 5,000 ‘langars’ (food stalls), including some mobile stalls, were set up to feed the participants.

Meanwhile, the Muzaffarnagar administration denied Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhry’s request to sprinkle flowers from a helicopter on the venue and participants of the mahapanchayat.

City magistrate Abhishek Singh rejected the request, saying it cannot be allowed due to security reasons.

However, the district administration had tightened the security at residences of local BJP lawmakers including Union minister Sanjiv Balyan, BJP MLA Umesh Malik, as a precautionary measure.