Thousands of farmers assembled in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, pledging to continue protests against the farms laws passed by the Centre and campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the coming state elections. Around 8,000 security forces personnel had been deployed for maintaining law and order during the ‘Kisan mahapanchayat’ at Government Inter College ground. The event was organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions spearheading the farmers' agitation.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said such meetings will be held across the country to "stop the country from getting sold." He added that the aim of the rally was to save the country, farmers, business, employees and youth.
Farmer leaders said the protests against farm laws will be held across the state, which goes to Assembly polls next year. The SKM is also planning to hold a nationwide strike on September 27.
BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik said farmers belonging to 300 organisations from different states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, among others, had gathered for the event.
More than 5,000 'langars' (food stalls) had been set up for the participants, he added.
The rally comes after 10 people were injured on August 28 in police action against a group of farmers who who had blocked a highway while heading to Karnal, Haryana, to protest against a BJP meeting attended by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, state BJP chief Om Prakash Dhankar and other senior leaders of the ruling party.
A video that showed a senior official directing police to "crack heads"of the agitating farmers in Karnal had sparked outrage. The clip was posted on Twitter by BJP leader Varun Gandhi, who again took to the micro-blogging site today to draw the Centre's attention towards the Muzaffarnagar rally, and understand the "pain" of farmers.
SKM said the Muzaffarnagar rally will prove that the agitation has the support of "all castes, religions, states, classes, small traders and all sections of the society." "The ''mahapanchayat'' of September 5 will make the Yogi-Modi governments realize the power of farmers, farm labourers, and supporters of the farm movement, the farmers' union said.