Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who has become the face of farmers' protest with his leadership skills, has a new appeal for the protesters to counter the measures taken by state authorities. He has apparently asked farmers, who have family members serving in the defence and police forces, to arrive at the protest sites with the pictures of their kin.
"Ya toh sarkar sun ley, nahi toh agla andolon yeh bhi hoga ki jis ghar mein log fauj mein, police mein honge, uska parivar yahan rahega aur uski tasveer lekay uska baap yahan baithega (The government should listen to us, otherwise in the next protest event, families of people serving in armed forces and police will come here, their fathers will sit with their pictures)," Tikait was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
The protesting farmers had observed a three-hour-long nationwide 'chakka jam' on Saturday amid heavy police deployment at the strategic places to avoid any Republic Day-like violence.
The reason for Tikait's call, the report stated, is the legal notices being issued to people protesting against the three farm laws. A senior BKU leader said, "We will see if the authorities on instructions of the government issue legal notices to the family members of those serving in defence forces and police. A large section of farmers has their children serving in the police and armed forces."
Another senior BKU leader, Dharmendra Malik, said, "We are inviting people having their family members serving in armed forces and police to come and mark their support for the farmers' protest at the Ghazipur border. These people will be carrying pictures of their kinsmen serving the nation. Besides expressing solidarity with all the jawans, the move is aimed to make the central and state governments realize that they cannot muzzle the voice of farmers by issuing legal notices to them."
Tikait further threatened: "The government must hear with open ears. Either they withdraw the three farm laws and frame a law guaranteeing MSP for farmers, otherwise we have several other plans to continue the protest. We will go on a countrywide tour and nonpolitical protests will erupt in all the states."
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader's emotional appeal recently had revived the protest that was losing momentum post the January 26 violence in Delhi. After Tikait's speech tractors from Haryana started rolling towards Ghazipur, farmers in Uttar Pradesh organised a Mahapanchayat and expressed their support for the leader.
The BKU national spokesperson was too a part of the police force once upon a time. He had briefly served the Delhi police as a constable and resigned during the 1993 farmers' protest spearheaded by his father, Mahendra Singh Tikait — one of the tallest farmer leaders of the country and president of the BKU is still remembered as the man who brought Delhi to a halt for 7 days in October 1988 at the boat club. Over 5 lakh farmers joined the movement.