Starting Sunday, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait will attend seven public meetings in Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan to rally support for the ongoing protest against the central government’s new farm laws.
These farmers’ meetings, which will culminate on February 23, are part of the outreach programme of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha – the umbrella body leading the protest, an associate of Mr Tikait said.
These “kisan mahapanchayats” are scheduled to be held in Haryana’s Karnal, Rohtak, Sirsa and Hisar districts, and Maharashtra’s Akola and Rajasthan’s Sikar, he said.
Since late November, thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s borders demanding that the three new farm laws, which they say will leave them at the mercy of corporates, be repealed.
The government, which has held 11 rounds of talks with the protesting farmers’ unions, has, however, maintained that the laws will not be withdrawn and are in their favour.
An influential farmers’ leader from western Uttar Pradesh, Mr Tikait has been leading the protesters at Ghazipur on the Delhi-UP border and said they won’t end their movement until their demands are met.
Facing a government crackdown with electricity, water and internet cut off and protesters boxed in with elaborate barricades and nails studded on roads, the farmers have taken to organising massive mahapanchayats in various states to rally support.
It was an emotional appeal from Rakesh Tikait that recharged the movement after the crackdown began following the violence between some protesters and the police during a Republic Day tractor parade in Delhi.
(With inputs from PTI)