Won't let govt sit in peace till farmers' demands met: Tikait
Karnal, Feb 14 (PTI) Upping the ante against the government, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said the farmers won't let it sit in peace till their demands are met.
Addressing a farmers' "mahapanchayat" at Indri grain market in the district, Tikait said the 40 leaders spearheading the agitation against the Centre's farm laws will tour the entire country to drum up support for the stir.
"Till the time the government does not decide in our favour, talks to the committee (spearheading the agitation) and does not agree to the demands, we won't let it sit in peace," Tikait said, demanding the repeal of the laws.
He reiterated that the Centre's farm laws "will finish the public distribution system." The laws will not only impact farmers but also small traders, daily wagers and other sections, he said.
Questioning the government's intention behind bringing the laws, Tikait said, "Godowns were built first and the laws came later. Don't farmers know these laws are in favour of big corporates? Business on hunger will not be allowed in this country." Tikait reiterated that the "panch" (leaders spearheading the stir) and the "manch" (stage) will remain the same.
He asserted that Singhu border protest site will remain central to the ongoing farmers' stir and not the Ghazipur border.
The BKU leader from Uttar Pradesh has been camping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border for over two months against the contentious agri laws passsed in Parliament in September.
Without naming anyone, he said, "They are repeatedly saying Ghazipur border will be the office (main protest site) instead of Singhu border. But I said the government or any official should not be under any false impression, we will neither change the 'manch' nor the 'Panch'," Tikait said.
"Whatever decisions are taken by the committee are acceptable to all. Farmers of the country stand behind it," he said, adding they will keep raising issues of farmers and fight for their rights.
Apart from Tikait, farmer leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal and Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni were also present on the occasion.
Rajewal said farmers have been protesting for months but the government is not listening to their demands, while Pal claimed that over 200 farmers have sacrificed their lives during the agitation.
"Their sacrifice will not go in vain," he said. Various speakers also slammed Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal over his "insensitive remark" on farmers who have died during the agitation.
Dalal on Saturday said they would have died even if they had stayed back home. The minister had, however, claimed that 'wrong meaning' was made out of his remarks. He added, "If anybody is hurt by it, I tender my apology”.
Dalal had also said he would continue to work for farmers' welfare.