Kicking off the 'black day' protests on Wednesday, BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait led farmers at the Ghazipur border hoisting black flags and burning effigies. Violating COVID norms, farmers assembled at Ghazipur and raised slogans against the Centre. Tikait said that only few farmers had been called and that the protest will be peaceful as farmers across India will raise black flags at their homes.
"We are carrying black flags today because 6 months have passed and govt is not listening. We have also unfurled the tricolor as well. We are burning the effigies of the govt. Everything is peaceful. We are also following the Covid protocols," said Tikait adding, "We have not called many farmers. The three bills should be repealed. A law on MSP should be made. Till then we will not move back." The Black flag protest will start at 9 AM on Wednesday and end by 12 PM.
On Tuesday, thousands of protestors led by Rakesh Tikait gathered at Hisar's 'Kranti Ground' to protest the clash between the police and them on May 16, violating COVID norms. The farmers have also demanded that the FIRs that were filed against 350 farmers should be taken by the police. Last Sunday, protesting farmers moved from the border areas to Haryana where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was inaugurating a 500-bed hospital leading to violent clashes and state police using lathi-charge and tear-gas on protestors. NHRC has issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi over the mass gatherings and alleged flouting of COVID-19 appropriate norms. 13 Opposition parties have backed the protests.
Taking a political twist to the protests, Tikait and other BKU leaders toured poll-bound Assam, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry seeking farmers' support against the Centre's Farm Laws, urging them to not vote for BJP. Moreover, after the violence witnessed on Republic Day, Delhi police fortified the city borders by cementing nails near barricades, deploying additional troops, adding barbed wires etc at Ghazipur (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh) and Tikri (Delhi-Haryana) borders, blocking access to the roads completely. MHA had snapped off internet across all three border areas - Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur and later extended the ban to 1-2 days more. Farmers have reiterated 'No Ghar Wapsi till Law Wapsi', as the 3-month protests have caught several international celebrities' interest online. The SC-appointed panel has submitted its report to the apex court after holding several rounds of talks with many farmer unions, trade unions, manufacturers, food processing units etc. While farmers have maintained that they are ready for talks, Centre has not scheduled any such meetings.