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UP govt refuses diesel to farmers to withhold R-Day tractor protest

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Lucknow: When the Delhi Police has permitted and mapped out route for farmers’ tractor protest at Delhi Borders against contentious farm laws, the BJP-led government seems not to budge from its decision to defer the proposed Republic Day tractor rally as the ruling BJP party in Uttar Pradesh has ordered supply officers in all the district to not give diesel to protesting farmers.

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As per reports, the UP administration has asked supply officers to refuse diesel to the farmers who are planning to join their counterparts near Delhi borders to take out a tractor march on January 26, on the occasion of Republic Day.

The BJP-led central government has been against the rally, saying it would be an “embarrassment for the nation” because of the timing. It had also approached the Supreme Court, seeking a hold on the rally. The apex court, however, left the decision to the Delhi Police, saying it was a matter of “law and order”. However, the ruling BJP party in Uttar Pradesh is trying every bit to stop the farmers from reaching national capital to join Republic day tractor parade.

Reacting to UP government’s decision, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait reportedly urged the farmers to block roads in cities and towns, where ever they are. According to sources, Tikait was informed about the state government’s decision by the farmers from Moradabad in western UP to as far as Ghazipur in eastern part of the state.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has given permission for the rally, on the terms that farmers will enter Delhi from the borders and will stay in the adjoining areas, but would not venture towards Central Delhi. However, the farmers want to take out the rally on Outer Ring Road (encircling the city), while the police have suggested alternate routes. The farmers, however, claimed that there has been an agreement on the routes of the parade, christened ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’ by them.

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Thousands of tractors have left from Punjab and Haryana to take part in Delhi’s tractor parade scheduled for Republic Day. Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary of the Punjab Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, said. “Around 2.5-3 lakh tractors will take to the roads near the protest sites. The parade will be absolutely peaceful from our end,” he said.

“Farmers will take out ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’ on January 26. Barricades will be opened and we will enter Delhi,” Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said on Saturday.

In view of the Republic Day celebrations, the Delhi Police has deployed a five-layer security in and around the national capital. Whereas, over 40,000 police, ITBP and CRPF personnel will be deployed at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders, police said.

Tens of thousands farmers have been protesting against the three contentious farm laws at several Delhi borders since November 28 last year, demanding the complete repeal of the ‘anti-farm’ laws. While the farmers want the three central laws to be completely repealed, the government has constantly been refusing to do so. However, the Centre in the 11th round of meeting with the farmers offered to hold the laws for about 18 months, which was too turned down by the farmer leaders. To end this deadlock, multiple rounds of talks between the farmers and the government have taken place so far, which have remained inconclusive. The government has asked the farmers to reconsider the offer.

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