Farmers at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on Friday planted flower saplings along a road stretch, saying it was their response to "iron nails" fixed in the area by the police. Stringent security measures like multi-layered barricading, concertina wires, had come up along with iron nails cemented on roads around the protest site in the wake of the January 26 violence in Delhi.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said, "The police had fixed iron nails for farmers but we have decided to plant flowers for them." Rows of marigold flowers have come up near the barricading only in a "symbolic gesture" but a relatively bigger plantation drive was underway on a road stretch nearby, BKU media incharge Dharmendra Malik said. "A flower garden is being created on the Delhi-Dabur Tiraha road. This will cover the dirt lying on road stretches, and also emanate fragrance and improve the environment around," Malik said.
Farmers, who are getting the flower saplings from nearby nurseries, said they were on the path of "peaceful" demonstration. Farmers, including those from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, are camping in temporary tarpaulin-roofed shelters, while many have their tractor-trailers double up as their resting place that have come up on a stretch of the Delhi-Meerut highway.
Besides Ghazipur, thousands of farmers are protesting at Tikri and Singh on Delhi's outskirts since November 2020 with a demand that the government repeal the new agri-marketing laws believing they would hurt their livelihood. The government, which has held at least 11 rounds of formal talks with the representatives of the protesting farmer unions, has maintained that the laws enacted last September are pro-farmer.