New Delhi: Thousands of farmers from Uttar Pradesh, who were stopped at the UP-Delhi border from entering Delhi, were later allowed in the national capital by the Delhi police around midnight. Following this, they marched to Kisan Ghat — the memorial of former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh — and ended their protest, thus concluding the 10-day long Kisan Kranti Yatra that had started from Hardwar on September 23.
The Delhi police removed the barricades around 12.30 am to allow the farmers to enter the city, a senior police official said.
The farmers entered the national capital riding their tractors and trolleys and proceeded towards Kisan Ghat where heavy police deployment had been made, the official said.
The agrarians raised a host of demands, including loan waivers and pension, and later agitated at the Jantar Mantar in the heart of the national capital on Wednesday afternoon.
The development comes around six hours after thousands of farmers, on a call by the BKU, “successfully culminated” their Kisan Kranti Yatra at the Kisan Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna after a 10-day march that had started at Tikait Ghat in Hardwar.
A senior Delhi police officer said that around 200 farmers were protesting at the Jantar Mantar.
The farmers, under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), which is headquartered at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, reached Delhi in the afternoon after protesting near the Noida entry point on the road to Mayur Vihar.
The BKU had splintered after the demise of its chief and iconic farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait in 2011. The eldest of his four sons, Naresh Singh Tikait, who led the latest Kisan Kranti Yatra from Haridwar to Delhi, was elected as the BKU chief in 2011.
“We are protesting against the anti-farmer policies of the Central government,” said Ajab Singh Kasana, the national vice president of BKU (Bhanu). He said that BKU (Bhanu), led by Bhanu Pratap Singh, could not join the BKU led protest on Tuesday but has “supported” their fight for the farmers’ cause.
Meanwhile, BKU’s Rakesh Singh Tikait said that the Kisan Kranti Yatra “was successful and completed on Wednesday when farmers reached the Kisan Ghat” in Delhi.
“I am not aware which group of farmers is now in Delhi because our farmers left Delhi for their homes early this morning. By this evening we can get a clear picture of what is happening,” Mr Tikait, who was also on his way home, said. He also accused the police of “brutality” against farmers at the Delhi-Ghaziabad border, referring to a clash between them and some protesters after they were stopped Tuesday from entering the city.
“Innocent farmers sustained injuries in the brutal lathi-charge by Delhi police,” he said, adding that the day happened to be Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
According to a BKU (Bhanu) letter, which was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their demands include formation of a farmers’ council with farmers included as its members; farmers being given the right to decide the selling price of their crops; loan waivers; Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of any farmer who dies in an accident; and Rs 5,000 monthly pension to farmers above the age of 60.