On The Day Of Non-Violence, Police Fire Tear Gas, Water Cannons To Prevent Farmers From Entering Delhi
Several thousand farmers from different parts of North India who are associated with Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) gathered at Baba Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23 to start the ‘Kisan Kranti Yatra’. Yesterday, on October 2, these farmers flocked to the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, where they were met with violence.
On the International Day of Non-violence and on the birthday of Lal Bahadur Shashtri, who said ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,’ the farmers were lathi-charged and tear gas shells were fired on them leading to many of them getting injured.
BKU was established by Mahendra Singh Tikait, who led the farmers 30 years ago and all of Delhi came to a halt until the demands of the farmers were met by the government. A similar attempt is now being made by Naresh Tikait who became president of the BKU after the death of his father Mahendra Tikait in 2011. The horde of farmers began the protest from Haridwar and proceeded via Muzaffarnagar and Meerut.
Violence at UP-Delhi Border
The convoy reached Ghaziabad on October 1, where Section 144 was in effect and gathering of five or more than five people was not allowed, reported The Indian Express. The police used tear gas and water cannons to control the violent crowd at UP-Delhi border and Rapid Action Force was called to stop the farmers.
The farmers, who also engaged in sloganeering, broke the barricades set up by UP police with their tractors and proceeded towards the barricades set up by Delhi police. The police launched water cannon to disperse the protestors. They also lathi-charged the farmers.
#WATCH Visuals from UP-Delhi border where farmers have been stopped during 'Kisan Kranti Padyatra'. Police use water cannons to disperse protesters after protesters broke the barricades pic.twitter.com/9KUwKgvrwW
— ANI (@ANI) October 2, 2018
The barricades were opened early morning on October 3 and farmers were allowed entry into Delhi after which the ‘Kisan Kranti Padyatra’ finally ended at Kisan Ghat in Delhi.
— ANI (@ANI) October 2, 2018
What are the farmers’ demands?
The reasons for this protest are many, the most significant one being the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations. According to media reports, five reports were submitted by the commission between 2004 and 2006 aimed at “faster and more inclusive growth” for farmers.
Upon implementation, it would lead to a more reasonable MSP for farmers. Other demands include reducing the cost of diesel and electricity and continuous supply of electricity during noon when the workload is maximum. Removing the NGT ban on ten-year-old diesel vehicles, paying off the pending dues for sugarcane and complete waiver of loans are among the other demands put up.
Allowed to enter Delhi after midnight
The assurances given by the government were not accepted by BKU and the protest continued even after Home Minister Rajnath Singh was ready to meet most of the demands. The protest was called off once the farmers reached Kisan Ghat, the memorial of Chaudhary Charan Singh after midnight.
As reported by The Quint, “The farmers remained unfazed despite all the hardships. We have been marching for 12 days now, farmers are tired as well. We will continue to demand our rights to the government but for now we are ending the march,” Tikait told IANS at Kisan Ghat.
All the farmers started going back on Wednesday after the victory over the government. However, out of the nine demands, the two most important demands were still not accepted which were loan waivers and implementation of the Swaminathan report.
Everyone condemned violence against farmers
Speaking up against the ‘inhuman’ treatment met out to the farmers, Congress spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “What is the Modi government doing on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi? What is the govt doing on the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri who said ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’? The govt is brutally beating up India’s farmers. It has launched a police raj and unprecedented atrocities on the farmers of the country. Can India’s farmers not come and tell their own government that they are in deep pain and suffering from deep rural indebtedness?”
Bashing the Modi government, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet said that Delhi is for everyone and the farmers could enter any time they want to.
दिल्ली सबकी है। किसानों को दिल्ली में आने से नहीं रोका जा सकता। किसानों की माँगे जायज़ हैं। उनकी माँगें मानी जायें।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 2, 2018
UP CM Yogi Adityanath, almost turning a blind eye to the situation said, “For the first time since independence, farmers came into the agenda of a government which is evident from the work done by BJP govt in the past 4.5 years for farmers. BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi solved all the issues of the farmers.”
For the first time since independence, farmers came into the agenda of a government which is evident from the work done by BJP govt in the past 4.5 years for farmers. BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi solved all the issues of the farmers: UP CM Yogi Adityanath pic.twitter.com/g8mPdKZyF7
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 2, 2018
If that is the truth, then why are the farmers from various parts of the country protesting?