New Delhi: As three-hour long ‘Chakka Jam’ (road blocking) came to its end, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said Saturday afternoon, that protesting farmers will not return home till their demands are met, and will not be pressured into holding talks with the Centre.
Addressing the demonstrators gathered at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, Tikait asserted that the protest would extend till October 2 and that the Centre had till that date to scrap these new farm laws, failing which the farmer groups would plan further protests.
“We won’t return home unless our demands are met,” said Tikait, who changed the dynamics of the protest after his tearful appeal post Republic day tractor rally violence.
“We have given time to the government till October 2 to repeal the laws. After this, we will do further planning. We won’t hold discussions with the government under pressure,” he added.
A day before taking ‘Chakka Jam’ in action, Tikait had planted flowers on Friday at the Ghazipur protest site – at the same spot where the government had earlier placed a strip of nails to stop the farmers.
“If they place nails, we will grow flowers. This relationship – between the centre and the farmers – will continue for a long time,” he said.
Today’s ‘Chakka Jam’ wasn’t contained to Delhi but farmers across several parts of the country, except in UP, Uttarakhand and Delhi, blocked the roads and highways across northern states, including the Eastern Peripheral Expressway around Delhi, in a peaceful way.
Roads were blocked at 33 places in 15 districts, including Sangrur, Bathinda and Barnala in Punjab. Visuals from the site showed farmers and their tractors camped across highways in large numbers.
Where the roads were blocked for regular travellers, videos showed demonstrators quickly moving barricades aside and allowing ambulances and emergency vehicles to pass.
— NDTV (@ndtv) February 6, 2021
Tens of thousands of farmers across India are adamant to see the laws rolled back. Lakhs of them have been camped around the Delhi borders, which have been heavily fortified with barbed wire fences, concrete barriers and sharpened iron rods, since late November.
The farmers are demanding the roll back of the legislature because they are apprehensive that these laws will endanger their livelihoods by allowing corporates to exploit them. They also fear the loss of the MSP (minimum support price) system.
Till now, total 11 rounds of talks have taken place between Centre and farmers, which have been so far turned out inconclusive. Where the BJP-government insists the laws will benefit farmers while making it clear that they will not scrap the laws, farmers have also refused to budge on their demand of scrapping of these laws. Centre’s amendments and an 18-month stay has also been rejected by the farmers as they just want its complete repeal.
Questioning government’s unwillingness to repeal the laws, Rakesh Tikait in a media interview on Friday asked why the controversial laws, passed in September amid absolute chaos and allegations of rule-breaking, couldn’t be scrapped?
“What is the problem in taking back the laws? When they weren’t brought with the farmers’ consent, he doesn’t want the laws, why bring the laws in the first place? They should be taken back and replaced with a law on MSP…” he said.
“We are just protesting. Are we doing anything else… We have nothing to do with politics. We have never told anyone who they should vote for,” he asked, refuting rumours of his links with opposition parties.