Rift Within Farmers' Group Over Decision To Open Highway To Delhi

Farmer protests: The decision to open the highway -- blocked for 14 days -- was taken by Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh after he met defence minister Rajnath Singh

Rift Within Farmers' Group Over Decision To Open Highway To Delhi

Farmers have partially blocked the Delhi-Jaipur highway in protest against farm laws (File)

New Delhi:

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) faction -- one of the key organisations leading the farmers' protest -- saw discord over the opening of the highway at the Chilla border. The highway from Noida to Delhi was the only one left open as the farmers' protest escalated and the Delhi-Jaipur border was blocked to stop farmers coming into Delhi from Rajasthan.

The decision to open the highway -- blocked for 14 days -- was taken by Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh, the president of the organization, after he met defence minister Rajnath Singh yesterday.

But the UP unit chief of the BKU (Bhanu) Yogesh Pratap, who was holding a sit-in protest on the road for the last 12 days, disagreed. He not only opposed opening the way, but said he would sit there on a fast unto death.

The spot was speedily converted into a protest site, complete with recitations of holy texts.  

The group's national general secretary Chimhendra Singh Chauroli and national spokesperson Satish Chaudhary resigned to protest the decision to open the road.  They accused the chief of the organization of being a traitor to the farmer community.

The BKU (Bhanu) faction has been at the forefront of the farmers' agitation. The group had earlier challenged the Centre's three contentious farm laws in the Supreme Court and was among the delegation that recently met Union minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the issue.

The farmers who have been escalating their protests since Thursday, said they would block the Delhi Jaipur Highway. Earlier on Sunday, the Haryana Police blocked the highway at Rewari to stop farmers' groups which were marching towards Delhi.