The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has laid the foundation for a ‘martyr memorial’ at the agitation site on the Ghazipur-Ghaziabad (UP Gate) border to pay tributes to the farmers who died during the course of the protest against the Centre’s three agri laws.
The BKU claimed that the soil for the memorial was brought by social workers from the villages of “320 farmers who died during the protest against the farm laws”.
Soil collected from the martyrs of the freedom movement has also been brought to the protest site, where the foundation for the memorial was laid by BKU leader Rakesh Tikait and social activist Medha Patkar on Tuesday.
The memorial would later be constructed permanently, BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik told PTI.
Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey, however, said the foundation for the ‘martyr memorial’ is “just symbolic and not permanent”.
A group of 50 social activists brought soil from all the states, and a ‘Mitti Satyagrah Yatra’ was also held, according to the BKU.
Soil from the villages of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan was also brought to the agitation site, it said.
Meanwhile, protesting farmers on Tuesday blocked a BJP MP’s car, smashing its windscreen, as he tried to leave a party worker’s home, police said.
Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini said police had a tough time getting him away from the protesters at Shahbad Markanda, 20 kms from Ghaziabad.
In two separate incidents, groups of farmers raised slogans against Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda in Kaithal district and state BJP chief O P Dhankar shortly before he was to arrive for a party event in Panipat.
Describing the attack on Saini as “murderous”, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said while it is the democratic right of farmers to hold a protest, violence will not be tolerated.
In another incident, a group of farmers raised slogans when Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda’s cavalcade was passing through Haryana’s Kaithal district to attend an event in a village.
Another group of farmers raised slogans against state BJP chief Dhankar shortly before he was to arrive for a party event in Panipat.
The police had to take an alternate route to make him reach the event venue.
On the Kurukshetra incident, Khattar said, “It was a murderous attack on the MP. This is not a small incident.”
Asked about farmer leaders’ call for the boycott of BJP-JJP leaders, Khattar targeted the opposition parties, saying they have not condemned this, “which means they are extending their silent support (to the boycott call)”.
Tuesday’s incidents are the latest in a series of protests by farmers against ruling BJP-JJP coalition leaders in Haryana.
On Saturday, farmers had held a protest against Khattar in Rohtak, resulting in a lathicharge by the police. It also forced authorities to shift the landing site for his helicopter.
Notably, farmers also held a protest last week against Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala outside the Hisar airport.
Farmer leaders have said they would continue their “peaceful social boycott” of leaders from the BJP and its allies.
The Centre says the new farm laws will free farmers from middlemen, giving them more options to sell their crops.
The protesting farmers, however, say the laws will weaken the minimum support price (MSP) system and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.