Ghaziabad: Farmer leaders at the UP Gate protest site said an “anti-Romeo squad” vehicle from the Ghaziabad police was seen on Friday morning escorting the SUV in which Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, traveled to attend a peasant rally at Bahadurgarh in Haryana. However, the police flip-flopped when they first confirmed it, but later denied it had ever happened.
The BKU leader has taken part in farmers’ meetings and panchayats in various areas of the capital region and often comes to the UP Gate protest area, where he has been camping with farmers since November 28, 2020.
In the afternoon, senior Ghaziabad police officers said they had actually provided Tikait with a conditional police escort vehicle to solve “safety” and “traffic issues”.
“There is only one vehicle that is used with a view to traffic problems and any safety concerns. A sub-inspector has also been deputized with him since he was threatened by telephone. The vehicle was not deposed permanently, but only to take it to the Ghaziabad border when moving out. It will guide him when he comes back, ”said Gyanendra Singh, Superintendent of Police (City 2).
Tikait allegedly received a threatening phone call from an unidentified person in December last year, after which the BKU leaders filed a police complaint with the Kaushambi police station.
Ghaziabad police said they had registered an FIR under Section 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication) of the Indian Penal Code against an unidentified person who allegedly threatened Tikait.
However, when Ghaziabad’s Chief Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani was asked to respond to the said provision of the police vehicle, he said that “an escort vehicle was not provided” without further elaboration.
Dharmendra Malik, the media responsible for the BKU, however, confirmed that “the police vehicle was there on Friday morning when Tikait ji was going to attend the rally”.
Digambar Singh, Vice President of the Youth Wing of the BKU, filed a further complaint with the police in Kaushambi on January 28, in which two MLAs from Ghaziabad were named. He claimed that they along with a group of people allegedly attacked farmers and damaged their tents.
The two MLAs dismissed the allegations as false, stating that they were not present near the UP Gate protest area.
Tikait and other farmer leaders have been posted on various FIRs filed by Delhi police following incidents of violence that took place during the tractor rally call made by farmers in Delhi on Republic Day.
Farmers have protested on the various borders of Delhi calling for the repeal of three new farm laws and a new law on the minimum support price. Several rounds of talks, including the last discussion on January 22nd, failed to break the impasse between farmers and government.
Tikait reiterated the farmers’ demands at the rally in Bahadurgarh on Friday.
“We won’t be going home until the three new farm laws are repealed. Nobody should misunderstand us. Our leaders (of the core committee on the Singhu border) think the same and believe that the government should speak to us. There is a saying in the villages: If a child goes missing at fairs in Tigri and Garh, it will be found at the same fair next year, ”said Tikait, referring to the October 2nd deadline by which the farmers said that they will be stationed at the protest location.
“People say that I gave October 2nd to agitate. I just said this based on an old saying by our elders, ”he added.
Tikait also said Friday that more mahapanchayats will be held in the coming days, adding that they will also go to Gujarat.
He claimed that Gujarat farmers were “pressured” not to support the agitation.
“We will have meetings in Gujarat and other states,” he said.
He also said that “doing business with hunger” will not be allowed and those who want to will be “driven” from the country.
In agreeing to the three new farm laws, he claimed that they would lead to the dismantling of the MSP and the exploitation of farmers from whom large corporations would source their produce at cheaper prices and then store them in godowns.
The samyukt Kisan Morcha on the Singhu border made it clear in a press release on Thursday that the agitation will continue until the farmers’ demands are met.
Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Sidharth Nath Singh, who arrived in Ghaziabad on Friday afternoon, said farmers should not be “misled”.
“We claim that people have the right to protest in a democracy, but it should be done in a peaceful way. We claim that the laws brought in by the center benefit farmers and should not be confused by people trying to do so, ”he added.
With PTI inputs