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“Farmer resistance will not shut down,” at Ghazipur border, farmer’s stand firm, vow to continue protest

After many attempts to scare and malign farmers following Republic Day violence, the farmers stationed at Ghazipur border stand tall and affirm to continue their protest till farm laws are repealed, Suchitra reports.

By Suchitra

Ghazipur: Days after the Republic Day Tractor Rally, a faction of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) led by Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, Kisan Mahapanchayat and BKU (Lok Shakti) have been reported to withdraw their support from the farmer’s cause. Leaders have been policing the violence, where ministers such as Prakash Javadekar allege insult to the national flag.

Multiple right-wing social media posts and publications such as OpIndia claimed that protesting farmers removed the Indian tricolour at the Red Fort and replaced it with a flag of Khalistan.

On Thursday night at the Ghazipur border, where many protestors had been in a sit-in protest for the last two months, the protestors were given a 24-hour ultimatum to vacate the site.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, hordes of farmer groups started camping, hinting at a refusal to budge in a pushback against the face of state repression.

Speaking to TwoCircles.net, the farmers affirmed that their nonviolent demonstration would carry on and that more farmers from different parts of the country would join them. “For more than two months, we have been camping at this site against these three problematic agricultural policies. It is not fun for us to sit in this biting cold. We will go back only if the laws go back,” they said.

Jagdeep (name changed), a farmer from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh says, “We know all the things that are being said about us. Maybe some youth amongst us were disobedient. So what? We’re looking at a massive crowd. All protestors are different. Our objective is to repeal these laws. However, the media continues to focus on narratives about what kind of protestors we are. What should matter is what we want and how the law will harm us. We will continue sitting until the laws are removed.”

Satpal Singh, a farmer from Badaun, alleges that BJP MLA Nand Kishore Gurjar had come with his supporters to try to remove the protestors by force. “We didn’t even retaliate to them. In fact, the police officials themselves removed those violent elements.”


Another farmer from Badaun, Uttar Pradesh expresses displeasure at the media coverage of the Republic Day events. “Media outlets continue expressing issues with the Nishan Sahib flag being hoisted on Republic Day, but I ask them why they choose to focus on these symbols more than our resistance for so many months. I am very ashamed at what happened on 26 January, but we have lost hundreds of our brothers and sisters in this. Farmers have lost real blood. We condemn the violence and want to tell everybody we are interested in the laws getting repealed and nothing else,” he says.

Over the flyover next to the stage, the farmers, holding up the tricolour— were heard chanting, “Naara-e-takbeer, Allahu Akbar”, “Jai Shree Ram”, “Jo Bole So Nihaal, Satsriakal” to respond to the claims of the protest being Sikh dominated.

“I heard a lot of media claiming that farmers are fearful after 26 January, or are going back home. I ask you, don’t you see us sitting here? Are we going home?” says Amarjeet Singh. “Some had come with their families for Tractor Rally. They have gone to drop their children home, but they along with some more farmers will join us soon. The resistance will not shut down,” Singh says.

While the situation was very tense on Wednesday night and the electricity of the flyover was cut, and police forces were deployed thrice in number, the farmers are choosing to stay put and demand withdrawal of the laws and nothing less than that.

On the other end of the protest site are the police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) standing in an arrangement, taking positions. They walked towards the protest site, and stood for a good fifteen minutes and proceeded to walk back to the buffer zones — as though showing the protestors their strength.

On Thursday night, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait made a tearful speech, moving many. He said he would hang at this very site instead of bowing down, indicating he would rather die by suicide than leave the protest. “We will not leave the site,” Tikait said. “We will face bullets, but not leave the protest. There is a conspiracy to end this agitation, but it will not end. They want to destroy the farmers.”

Following Tikait’s emotional speech, many more farmers reached the platform. In western U.P., particularly Muzaffarnagar, Tikait’s native district, the speech and Tikait’s tears caused waves. Naresh Tikait, his brother and the President of BKU, immediately called an emergency meeting to urge supporters to enter Ghazipur.

Being the younger son of the late BKU leader Mahendra Tikait, Rakesh Tikait is well known in Western UP among the Jats. In multiple elections, including the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, both Rakesh and his elder brother Naresh Tikait have been supporting the BJP and its brand of Hindutva politics. However, the speech is now being credited as the game-changer of how the protest is going to pan out.

“Let BJP twist it however they want. We are here for a cause, and until the cause is not complete, we won’t move,” a native of Ghaziabad district, added, “Write anything but don’t call us terrorists. We are not terrorists, we are just farmers fighting for our survival.”

Suchitra is an independent journalist working on social justice, focusing primarily on gender justice. She tweets at @Suchitrawrites