New Delhi: With more farmers streaming into the protest sites at Delhi’s borders, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said on Sunday that the farmers’ unions were ready for a “respectable solution”, but they would “never agree to anything under pressure”. In Punjab, chief minister Amarinder Singh has called an all-party meeting on Tuesday to show unity with the protesters and evolve a consensus on the way forward on the three contentious agricultural laws.
As the stream of farmers heading for Delhi’s borders remained incessant on the 67th day of the massive agitation, Tikait said the Republic Day violence was “part of a conspiracy” and that the government should nab all those behind it. “The violence on January 26 was part of a conspiracy. The tricolour is over and above everything. We will never let anyone disrespect it. It will not be tolerated.”
Tikait, who is camping at the Ghazipur border and has now become the face of the agitation, also urged the government to release all those farmers who were arrested in connection with the tractor rally. “The government should release our men and prepare an environment conducive for the talks,” he said, adding: “We will honour and respect the dignity of the Prime Minister. Farmers don’t want that the government or Parliament to bow down before them… But we will also ensure that the self-respect of farmers is protected. A middle way should be found. Talks should be held.”
After the mahapanchayat at Baraut in UP’s Baghpat district, two more mahapanchayats are being planned in UP’s Bijnor and Haryana’s Jind districts to mobilise the growing support for the protesting farmers. While the Bijnor mahapanchayat has been scheduled for Monday, the one at Jind will be held on Wednesday. Prominent western UP Gurjar leader Madan Bhaiyya has also extended his community’s support to the farmers.
The Punjab CM has called an all-party meeting to discuss the situation arising out of the recent developments, especially in view of the Republic Day violence, the Singhu border attack on farmers and the massive vilification campaign against them. He urged all parties in the state to join the meeting in a spirit of unity, in support of the farmers and in the interest of Punjab.
Singh said the “crisis” triggered by the farm laws was a matter of concern for the entire state and its people. “Only through the collective efforts of all Punjabis, and all the political parties of the state, can the crisis be tackled effectively, and the farmers’ interests be protected.” He went on to add: “Our farmers are dying out there at Delhi’s borders for more than two months now. They are being beaten up by the police and assaulted by goons. They are being harassed and are being deprived of basic amenities.”