Thousands of protesting farmers, who gathered at the ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar on Sunday, unanimously gave a call for a complete Bharat Bandh on September 27 against the Centre’s contentious farm laws. The protesters had earlier said that a countrywide strike would be held on September 25.
“They (the Centre) said only a handful of farmers are protesting. Let them see what a handful this is today. Let us raise our voices so it reaches the ears of those sitting in Parliament,” the speakers said at the mahapanchayat organised by Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions across the country.
Addressing the protesting farmers, BKU (Arajnaitik) leader Rakesh Tikait announced that the protesting farmers will not leave the protest sites at Delhi borders. “We take a pledge that we’ll not leave the protest site there (at Delhi borders) even if our graveyard is made there. We will lay down our lives if needed, but will not leave the protest site until we emerge victorious,” he said.
Tikait also slammed the government for “selling the country to corporates” and said they are fighting to “save the nation”. “These meetings will be held across the country. We have to stop the country from getting sold. Farmers should be saved, the country should be saved; business, employees and youth should be saved — this is the aim of the rally,” he announced.
Terming the ‘Kisan mahapanchayat’ an “election meeting”, the BJP accused its organisers of indulging in politics with assembly polls approaching in a number of states, including Uttar Pradesh. “If they (Samyukta Kisan Morcha) wants to come in politics then we will welcome them,” said Union Minister and Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Balyan.
Popular names like Medha Patkar and Yogendra Yadav were present on the dais on Sunday. Yadav was given a yellow robe by Tikait, while the BKU leader was presented a mace at the event.
The Congress also voiced support for the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying the call of truth is echoing and an “unjust government” will have to listen. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the “arrogance of power” cannot withstand the roar of the farmers.