The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesman Rakesh Tikait has warned of another farmer agitation. He has asked farmers to remain united and be ready for a movement, if they want to protect their lives and land.
Talking to reporters, Tikait accused the government of not fulfilling its poll promise of providing free electricity to farmers besides addressing the issue of rising power tariff and erratic supply in villages.
Tikait addressed the first ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ panchayat in Bitawda village in Muzaffarnagar’s Budhana earlier this week and said that he would be addressing a series of similar panchayats in the region in the coming days.
Tikait also raised questions over the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in defence services. The BKU leader alleged that the BJP government had exploited farmers and also raised the issue of non-payment of cane dues by sugar mills.
“The mills are not making payment of dues, which has worsened the financial condition of farmers,” said Tikait, who threatened to dump sugarcane at the office of district magistrates in the coming crushing season.
Tikait said farmers, poor and labourers were going through a tough time. “They have multiple problems, which need to be addressed but the government is ignorant towards them,” he added.
Tikait has come under repeated attacks, some of them literal, after emerging as the face of protesting farmers. In May this year, miscreants threw ink on Tikait during an event organised by a farmers’ organisation at Gandhi Bhavan in Bangalore, Karnataka, following which three people were arrested.
Tikait held the local police responsible for the episode and alleged that the attack on him was in connivance with the BJP-led state government. “The black ink and the deadly attack cannot suppress the voice of farmers, labourers, Dalits, the exploited, backwards and tribals of this country. The fight will continue till the last breath,” the farmer leader said.
At the meeting, the miscreants appeared in the crowd posing as journalists and pretended to take notes. One of them then went on to the stage apparently to adjust the microphone in front of Tikait and then tried to attack him with the mic.
Another person threw ink on Tikait that stained his turban, face, white kurta, and the green shawl worn around his neck.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, condemned the incident and sought immediate police action against the culprits.
Tikait, a vocal critic of the BJP, was one of the prominent faces of the 2020 farmers’ protest against the now-repealed three central agri-marketing laws. Tikait’s BKU was part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which had led the over-a-year-long protest against the Centre at Delhi’s borders. (IANS, PTI)