This Article is From Jan 29, 2021

Leader Rakesh Tikait's Tears Draw More Farmers To Delhi-UP Border: 10 Facts

Farmers' protest: A huge security build-up has started at the Delhi-Haryana border at Singhu -- seen as an indication of action

Farmers' protest: The farmers have said they will not end their protest around Delhi

New Delhi: A tense night at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur saw cops first trying to drive farmers away from protest sites and then protesters returning after watching a widely-circulated video of a top leader of their agitation, Rakesh Tikait, breaking down and declaring tearfully that he was ready to "face bullets or kill himself". Rakesh Tikait's Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has called a "Mahapanchayat" or meeting amid a huge backlash over violence during their tractor rally on Tuesday. Some parts of the Delhi border have been closed to traffic. Last evening, the administration in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana ordered cops to remove thousands of farmers who have been protesting at various points outside Delhi against three central laws for over two months.

Here's your 10-point cheat sheet to this big story:

  1. Late last evening, a massive force of security personnel gathered at the Ghazipur border, ready to drive the protesters out even if it took all night. These included 300 CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) personnel, 600 troops of the Provincial Armed Constabulary and 1,000 police personnel.

  2. As farmers were seen moving away, chased by police in riot gear, an emotional Rakesh Tikait, weeping loudly on TV cameras, declared he would not budge. "They want to destroy farmers, we will not allow this to happen. Either the laws will be taken back, or Tikait will kill himself. This is a conspiracy against farmers..."

  3. The video clip almost went viral and resulted in hordes of farmers making an about-turn and returning to Ghazipur to attend a "Mahapanchayat" called by Rakesh Tikait.

  4. This morning, former Union Minister Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) spoke to the BKU and extended his party's support. "It is a matter of life and death for farmers, but do not worry. All have to stay together, united in this," Ajit Singh's son Jayant Chowdhury said to the farmers.

  5. Till late evening, it had seemed that the UP administration was succeeding in ending the protest after cutting off the water and power supply to the protesters and notices to farmers over the violence on Tuesday during a tractor rally in Delhi.

  6. In neighbouring Haryana -- another BJP-ruled state -- farmers who had been protesting for nearly two months in Karnal, were told to leave. A group of people gave them a 24-hour ultimatum, saying they were facing inconvenience because of the protests.

  7. Two other key border points -- Tikri and the epicenter of farmers' protests, Singhu -- have also been placed under heavy security. The police have dug up roads using JCB machines. The administration had cut off power and water supply to the hundreds of farmers, who have been camping out on the roads. Power and water supply was restored this morning.

  8. The farmers have alleged a conspiracy to taint their Republic Day tractor rally in which protesters clashed with the police in various parts of Delhi after forcing their way in through barricades.

  9. Rakesh Tikait has demanded a judicial inquiry into the events at the Red Fort. The Delhi Police have filed more than 25 cases over Tuesday's violence, 19 people have been arrested.

  10. The farmers are protesting against three laws that they believe will vastly deplete their income by taking away guaranteed minimum prices and by leaving them vulnerable to corporates. The government says the laws bring long overdue reforms in the agriculture sector, and will allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country for competitive prices.