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Dilli Chalo | Number of protesters swell at the Delhi-Ghaziabad border

After many years, farmers have come together for their rights, says BKU leader.

As the farmers’ protest against the farm laws completed almost a month at the Ghazipur border, the numbers are swelling at the Delhi-Ghaziabad border. The row of tractors behind the stage on the Delhi-Meerut expressway has suddenly become longer in the last two days. Among those who have joined in the last couple of days are peasants from Punjab.

“We were at the Singhu border for some time but now we have been told to come here as this site needs more numbers,” said Joga Singh, a farmer from Ludhiana. “If all goes well, tomorrow 200 tractors are expected to come here from the Delhi side as well,” said Mr. Singh, sitting on a divider.

On Saturday, farmers blocked both the carriageways on the expressway for around five hours. The traffic from Delhi was diverted via Anand Vihar. “We do it when the administration doesn’t allow our tractors to come to the protest site. Once they allowed, we opened the traffic from Delhi,” said Gurpreet Singh from Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand. “At this point, the tractors have covered at least 4 km of the Meerut carriageway,” said Mr. Gurpreet, adding the protesters did not stop the vehicles of essential services.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s address to farmers on Friday, Mr. Singh said the PM’s comparison between poultry and dairy farmers and those growing food grains was misplaced. “Eggs and milk could be sold in small quantities to different buyers. I can’t keep selling a quintal of grain and I don’t have the facility to hoard,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who negotiated with the administration during the day, said, “Jab tak Bill wapsi nahin, tab tak ghar wapsi nahin (‘as long as the Acts are not repealed, we will not return home’).” He said the protest was leaderless and being run by farmers. “After many years, farmers have come together for their rights. We can’t allow it to be sabotaged,” he said.

Comment | The farmers’ protest, truths and half-truths

He appealed to temple trusts to support the protest. “The way they do during the kawad yatra, they could provide meals to farmers.” He said he had received an anonymous call from Bihar and the caller threatened to kill him. “The person was annoyed because I have asked for charity from temples. We have lodged a complaint at the Kaushambi police station,” he said.

Serving milk and jaggery to farmers before they retired for the day, Manoj Chaudhary, vice president of the Ghaziabad unit of the BKU, observed, “Those that the government has presented as supporters of the Acts cannot even last one night in the cold. The best thing that these black acts have done is that they have united Sikh and Jat farmers, andlandowners and landless farmers.”

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