Farmer stir regains energy as Tikait mobilises support

Farm protests regain momentum as Tikait succeeds in mobilising support from western UP

More farmers gathered at Ghazipur which has now become the new focal point of the stir

 Farmers and their supporters during their protest over Centre's farm reform laws, at Ghazipur border in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Use of strong-arm tactics to end the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws appears to have galvanised farmers to join the protests in huge numbers, with Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border emerging as a major draw for political leaders.

The 67-day agitation appeared to be losing steam as the violent incidents during the Republic Day tractor rally and the vandalisation of the Red Fort pushed the farmers on the backfoot.

Also read: Republic Day violence scripted by BJP to discredit farmers' movement: AAP

However, the use of police force to vacate the Ghazipur protest site and the clashes between “locals” and the agitating farmers at Singhu and Tikri borders appeared to have kindled the fresh spark among farmers who had gone back to their villages after the show of strength on January 26.

“The government and many organisations were claiming that the Ghazipur agitation would be closed soon, but the farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have again proven that the farmers’ spirits and support are high,” Darshan Pal, leader of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha said.

Also read: How BKU's Rakesh Tikait became the face of farmers' protest

The images of Rakesh Tikait crying on national television generated a fresh wave of sympathy and farmers from regions dominated by the Jat community in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have begun gathering at Ghazipur.

“It was not his tears alone, it was tears of all of us struggling farmers. That's why I decided to come here again. I had gone back after the Republic Day tractor parade,” Gyanendra Singh, a farmer from Bulandshar said.

Also read: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad meets farmer leader Rakesh Tikait at Ghazipur, offers help to strengthen protest

“People in large numbers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand are reaching the protest sites,” farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said.

Meanwhile, farmer leaders observed a day-long fast at the three protest sites to “spread the values of truth and non-violence”.

RLD leaders Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudary, Congress leaders Ajay Singh Lallu, Deepender Hooda, Anil Chaudhary, CPI(M) leader K K Ragesh, AAP leader Manish Sisodia, Akali Dal leaders visited the Ghazipur protest site to express solidarity with Tikait.

Huge community gatherings in the Jat stronghold of Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Shamli in western Uttar Pradesh were held to declare support of the Ghazipur protests and a show of strength was being planned for Tuesday.