Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Friday met Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border and said the Dalit group will provide all help to strengthen the agitation against the new farm laws. Azad reached UP Gate at around 6:30 PM with nearly 100 members of the Bhim Army.
The Dalit leader said Tikait is the "pride of western Uttar Pradesh" and he would fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the farmer leader. "We stand firm with our farmers and will provide all help needed to strengthen their protest," PTI quoted Azad as saying. He claimed that the government will "try every trick to end this movement and instigate farmers to resort to violence". "I appeal to you not to deviate from the path of non-violence," he said.
Meanwhile, farmers protesting the Centre's new agri laws will observe 'Sadbhavna Diwas' on Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary on Saturday and hold a day-long fast, farm leaders said on Friday, and asserted that their agitation will gain strength as farmers in large numbers will join them in the days ahead.
Addressing a press conference at Delhi's Singhu border, the leaders slammed the ruling BJP at the Centre and accused it of trying to "destroy" the "peaceful" agitation against the agri laws. "The conspiracy of the ruling BJP to destroy this farmers' movement is now exposed to all," said Jagjit Singh Dallewal of Bharat Kisan Union (Sidhupur).
The farmer leaders said the fast will be held from 9 AM to 5 PM and appealed to the people of the country to join them. The farmer leaders also asserted that the number of agitators at all the prominent protest venues—Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri—is swelling after the police allegedly tried to remove farmer leader Rakesh Tikait from Ghazipur border on Thursday night.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) supporters stayed put on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway on Friday as the crowd swelled there, notwithstanding the Ghaziabad administration's ultimatum to vacate the UP Gate protest site where security force in large numbers was re-deployed.
On a call of the BKU, more farmers from western Uttar Pradesh districts such as Meerut, Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad and Bulandshahr reached the UP Gate by early morning to join the stir, even as the security forces at the protest site thinned out overnight.
(With PTI inputs)