Thousands of farmers, who were finally allowed to enter Delhi at midnight, called off their protests after reaching Kisan Ghat, the memorial of Chaudhary Charan Singh. They were prevented from entering the national capital on Tuesday as police attacked with canes and water canons at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
The visuals of helpless men being attacked by cops had gone viral on social media. Some of the farmers had even faced attack by bullets from unknown people as they markched towards Delhi with their list of demands.
Modi Government honouring farmers in Delhi on the occasion of Bapu’s 150th birth anniversary ?? #NewIndia
( too bad the British regime didn’t these fancy equipments) pic.twitter.com/6id1l4Kgib
— Sid (@sidmtweets) October 2, 2018
Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Naresh Tikait was quoted by news agency IANS as saying, “The farmers remained unfazed despite all the hardships. We have been marching for 12 days now, farmers are tired as well. We will continue to demand our rights to the government but for now we are ending the march.”
They’ve started to return home from Wednesday morning. These farmers, around 30,000 in numbers had started their march from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on 23 September. They were also joined by farmers from parts of Uttar Pradesh such as Gonda, Basti and Gorakhpur and the sugarcane belt of western UP. Their list of demands included unconditional loan waiver for farmers, clearing of dues by sugar mills, higher prices for crops, free electricity for farms and a cut in diesel prices.
The attack on them had evoked angry reactions from India’s opposition parties. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “On International non-violence day, the BJP started its two-year Gandhi’s birth anniversary functions with a cruel attack on those farmers, who were on their way to Delhi. Now, farmers can’t even come to the country’s capital and share their pain.”
विश्व अहिंसा दिवस पर BJP का दो-वर्षीय गांधी जयंती समारोह शांतिपूर्वक दिल्ली आ रहे किसानों की बर्बर पिटाई से शुरू हुआ।
अब किसान देश की राजधानी आकर अपना दर्द भी नहीं सुना सकते! #KisanKrantiYatra
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 2, 2018
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too had expressed his anguish on police stopping what was essentially a peaceful protest.
On Tuesday night, the BKU leaders met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and reportedly held talks with him. Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told ANI that farmer leaders had reached an agreement on a majority of the issues.
But the members of the BKU denied reaching an agreement on the full implementation of the Swaminathan report regarding the minimum selling price and their demand of one-time complete loan waiver.
“We had a discussion on 11 points. The government agreed on seven and didn’t agree on the rest. They said they will discuss those points get us back to us, as if it is a financial matter,” Yudhvir Singh of the BKU was quoted by NDTV.
Naresh Tikait, BKU president, is the eldest son of Mahendra Singh Tikait, a renowned farmer leader from Muzaffarnagar district who led a historic rally of nearly five lakh farmers to Delhi’s Boat Club in 1988 with similar demands.
On Tuesday, he was joined by