Highlights

  • Rakesh Tikait: Barriers at the protest site put by Delhi police  not farmers
  • Farmers have the right to protest but they cannot keep roads blocked indefinitely: SC

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Farmers who have been camping at the Delhi-UP border in Ghazipur since November 2020, said the barriers at the protest site have been put by the Delhi police and not by the protesters

The BKU, whose supporters and office-bearers led by Rakesh Tikait are camping on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur since November 2020, on Thursday said the barriers at the protest site have been put by the Delhi police and not farmers.

The influential farmers' outfit, Bhartiya Kisan Union, which is part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), also trashed reports of vacating the Ghazipur border that emerged in the wake of a Supreme Court observation counselling farmers to lift their blockade from roads.

“Farmers have the right to protest but they cannot keep roads blocked indefinitely. You may have a right to agitate in any manner but roads should not be blocked like this. People have the right to go on roads but it cannot be blocked,” an apex court bench of justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh said.

The bench made the observation while hearing a public interest lawsuit by a Noida resident Monicca Agarwal complaining of delays in daily commute due to the protesting farmers blocking roads.

The court has asked farmer unions to respond to the PIL within three weeks.

Hundreds of farmers are encamping on the Delhi borders at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November 2020, demanding the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee to retain minimum support price for crops.

Key roads connecting Delhi with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have remained impacted ever since the protests began amid the continued stalemate between the Centre and protesting farmers over the central laws.

“We respect the Supreme Court's directive. We would also like to make it clear that it was the Delhi Police which had set up barricades at the protest site. We also demand that the Delhi police should remove them now for public welfare,” Saurabh Upadhyay, a BKU spokesperson, told PTI.

“Whether Delhi or Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, nowhere have farmers barricaded any roads. Farmers do not have the power to barricade road but police do,” Upadhyay said.

On purported images and videos of social media claiming removal of tents at the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (NH-9) in Ghazipur, the BKU office-bearer said such reports were false rumours.

“There is nothing like that. We have just removed one tent which was located on a service lane towards Delhi on the flyover on NH 9 above the UP Gate. The barricading put up by Delhi Police still exists on the lane,” he said.

“Farmers are going nowhere from the border until the demands are met. The onus of removing barricades is on the police,” he added.

Asked if farmers would continue to sit on the expressway, Upadhyay said even the Supreme Court has observed that peaceful protest is a right of citizens.

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