Yesterday, on January 28, Rakesh Tikait was issued a notice in connection with violent clashes during the tractor parade on the Republic Day. Farmers’ protests seemed to be drawing towards an end. However, tears of Tikait have made several farmers return to the protest sites.
Rakesh Tikait addressing media on Jan 28 evening at Ghazipur. Pic: Arvind Shukla.
Ghazipur border, Uttar Pradesh
Forty-five-year-old Tejinder Singh was admitted at a hospital in Muradnagar, Ghaziabad district in Uttar Pradesh where he was undergoing treatment. At the hospital, on his mobile phone, he watched the video of farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait crying at Ghazipur border and refusing to end the farmers’ protests. Singh jumped out of his hospital bed and left for Ghazipur, about 40-kilometre away, and reached there by 10 pm last night.
Twenty-eight-year old Satendra Kumar was in Gurugram, Haryana, when he watched the video of Tikait’s tears. He too immediately rushed to Ghazipur. “I was about to start my dinner, but I could not eat even a single bite. My wife told me to at least have milk. But I told her I will now eat food only after I meet Tikait ji,” Kumar told Gaon Connection.
Yesterday, till 5 pm, there was gloom and fear at Ghazipur where Tikait and farmers have been camping protesting against the three farm laws. After the violent clashes during the tractor parade on the Republic Day on January 26, a large number of farmers had returned, or were preparing to leave for their villages. Protesting farmers at Ghazipur had been given an ultimatum to vacate the site. Police was deployed at a large scale. All traffic movement on the national highway-24, connecting Ghazipur with Delhi, was stopped.
Last evening, while addressing the farmers from the stage , Tikait said that even if he was arrested, the farmers protests should continue. Thereafter, a 15 minutes meeting was held between Ghaziabad district administration and police and Tikait. This changed the scenario.
After the meeting, Tikait said he will not surrender for arrest and will not leave the farmers and was ready to face the bullet or lathicharge. The district magistrate handed over the notice to him and left.
Thereafter, while addressing the media, Tikait broke down and cried. His tears got viral on social media. Meanwhile, Tikait’s elder brother, Naresh Tikait, started to mobilise large number of farmers and told them to reach Ghazipur so that the farmers’ protests continue.
Till late last night, large groups of farmers started to arrive at Ghazipur from various districts of Uttar Pradesh, such as Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bagpat, Bulandshahr, etc. Farmers from Haryana are also on their way.
Aehsan Aalam of Muzaffarnagar, who had just reached Ghazipur along with 18 more farmers told Gaon Connection, “Hamari gharoin main chulha nahi jala hai… There was too much fog on the way, hence we took seven hours t reach Ghazipur. Thousands of more tractors are on their way.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.