Amid heavy security deployment, farmers groups led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) held sit-in protests across several districts of western Uttar Pradesh blocking highways in support of the farmers of Haryana and Punjab who marched towards New Delhi on Friday against the new farm laws passed by the central government in the last session of Parliament.
The BKU activists, led by Rakesh Singh Tikait, and farmers blocked the Yamuna Expressway by squatting on the road which led to a massive traffic jam on Friday. A wedding procession was stuck in the jam for several hours. The blockade prevented traffic movement from Agra to Mathura.
Farmers fear the three laws– The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020– would make them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations while doing away with the minimum support price (MSP) regime.Dharmendra Malik, state spokesperson of BKU, said BKU leader Rakesh Tikait led the protest at Nawla on National Highway 58 in Muzaffarnagar.He recalled that over five lakh farmers had staged a protest in Delhi for seven days in 1988 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Tikait, compelling the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre to accept their demands.
The key roads affected by the stir included Delhi-Dehradun National Highway, whose whole stretch from Hardwar to Delhi had to shut down, besides the Jhansi-Mirzapur and Meerut-Karnal road.
In Lucknow, farmers staged a demonstration at Naubasta Kala under Chinhat police station area, while hundreds of them belonging to Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Gautam Buddh Nagar in western UP reached the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Greater Noida on their way to Delhi.
In Lucknow, Harnam Singh Verma, the vice president of UP unit of Bharatiya Kisan Union, led a protest at Naubasta Kala on Friday morning.
Verma said 77 farmers were arrested during the protest.
Police, however, said some farmers were only briefly detained.
“Our agitation will not stop. Farmers will march to Delhi from Lucknow on tractor-trollies,” Verma said.
Farmers held protests at five places in Lucknow including Ahimamau, Chinhat and Mohanlalganj
To maintain law and order situation, magistrates and police have been deployed in strength in Nivada area, bordering Haryana, Baghpat Superintendent of Police Abhishek Singh said.
Local farmer leaders have also been approached in this regard, he added.
In Jhansi, farmers held protests in Mauranipur and Moth tehsils, where they accused the government of working against their interests.
Kamlesh Lambardar, the Jhansi district president of BKU, said they handed over a memorandum to the block development officer. The memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanded an immediate release of farmers arrested during the agitation and rollback of the “anti-farmer laws”, he added.
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