Ghaziabad: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait’s emotional appeal last week has been doing wonders for the farmers’ agitation at the UP Gate protest site as the gathering swelled further on Sunday, with several people bringing food and water for him. The office bearers of the BKU said that ever since his appeal, the only water Tikait has been consuming is that which has been brought to him by the people coming to support the protest.
It was on the evening of January 28 that Tikait, while he was approached by the Ghaziabad police and administration officials with a notice to vacate the UP Gate site, broke down in tears in front of supporters and media persons, appealing that he wants people to come and offer him water and food.
Following this, he said he won’t vacate the protest site and had also alleged that the Ghaziabad administration had stopped the water supply and snapped the electricity supply.
Ever since, thousands of people from different areas in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and even Karnataka have arrived with water.
“I had come to UP Gate with my two children and have been here for the past two days. I was touched by his appeal and have come to support him. The agitation is gaining strength and the government will have to consider the demands of farmers,” said Rajeshwari Meena, a resident of Dausa in Rajasthan.
“We are protesting that crops should not be locked in lockers (referred to as godowns of corporate). We will not allow the pagdi (turban) of farmers and ‘roti’ (food) of the poor to be locked up. Roti cannot be allowed to be a part of business. If this happens, the common man will suffer. Camera aur kalam pe bandook ka pehra hai (guns are curbing the pen and the camera), and this is why the message is still not going to the common man,” Tikait, the national spokesperson of the BKU, said.
Since January 28, people have brought water for Tikait from their homes and even from the Golden Temple at Amritsar in Punjab. Some came from as far as Karnataka on Sunday, bringing in water from river Kaveri.
He said this water will be sent to be flowed in river Ganga.
“The water coming in from other rivers, homes and water bodies will be collected and sent to Ganga. This water will be flowed in the river which will eventually flow out into the sea. It will help farmers during the rains and will help him irrigate his fields. This will also cement our bond with the almighty,” Tikait added.
On January 26, the UP Gate protest site had an estimated crowd of 800-1,000 at the site, even as many left in apprehension of police action, after the incidents of violence on Republic Day in the national Capital.
“On Sunday, there was an estimated gathering of more than 15,000-20,000 at the site and more people will arrive soon. His appeal for water and food to be brought from homes touched hearts and people are…