Intensifying their stir against the central farm laws, 15 farmers from western Uttar Pradesh districts sat on a hunger strike in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, even as the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha’s “tractor rally” witnessed participation of thousands of protesters in Gautam Buddh Nagar on Thursday.
The 15 protesters are from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti), who are camping at the Dalit Prerna Sthal, while 11 farmers belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) are already on a relay hunger strike at the Chilla border since a fortnight.
“Today, 15 farmers belonging to the BKU (Lok Shakti) sat on a hunger strike to demand the repeal of the new farm laws and to demand legalisation of the minimum support price (MSP) for crops,” the union’s spokesperson, Shailesh Kumar Giri, said.
These protesters belong to Gautam Buddh Nagar, Bulandshahr, Firozabad, Aligarh, Kasganj, among other places in the state, he added.
The hunger strike by 11 BKU (Bhanu) protesters continued on Thursday also at the Chilla border, where the Noida-Delhi link road stayed partially closed due to the agitation.
Meanwhile, the tractor rally called by the farm law protesters had its impact in Gautam Buddh Nagar too with the police diverting traffic on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in the afternoon.
Around 400 tractors and another 100 four-wheelers participated in the rally that started from the Ghazipur border in Ghaziabad and was scheduled to go to Palwal in Haryana, according to a senior police official.
However, the protesters coming from Ghaziabad went up till Dankaur and returned from there, the official said, adding diversions at Sirsa Cut, Beel Akbarpur were made for regular commuters between 12 pm and 4 pm.
“There was no law and order situation due to the tractor rally on the expressway,” the police official said.
The BKU (Bhanu) and the BKU (Lok Shakti), both with an influence in Uttar Pradesh, are not a part of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmers unions, which are leading the charge at Delhi’s border points in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur.
Thousands of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi”s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers” Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.