Thousands of Farmers Gather at Mahapanchayat in UP’s Shamli Defying Govt Orders

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The mega gathering of farmers, Kisan Maha Panchayat, was organised by the leaders Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a popular political party in the region.

The police cited “unruly behaviour” of farmers and Covid-19 restrictions as the reason for issuing restriction orders.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Tens of thousands of farmers Friday gathered at Bhainswal village of Shamli district in Western Uttar Pradesh (UP), defying prohibitory orders under Section 144, as a part of the ongoing farmer agitation.

The mega gathering of farmers, Kisan Mahapanchayat, was organised by the leaders Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a popular political party in the region.

The police, according to Indian Express, cited “unruly behaviour” of farmers and Covid-19 restrictions as the reason for issuing restriction orders. RLD leader Jayant Choudhary had Thursday posted a tweet taking a dig at the authorities: “144 reasons why I will go to Shamli tomorrow.”

The rally reverberated with the slogans of Inquilab Zindabad—long live revolution—and pro-farm anthems.

Western Uttar Pradesh and parts of neighboring Haryana have seen several such rallies in the past couple of weeks. The Mahapanchayats have emerged as new fronts of resistance to the adamant stance of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on the current farmer crises.

The rallies are being seen as convergence points wherein the chasms between the communities are dissolving and posing a challenge to the divisive policy of the Narendra Modi-led Central government.

Leaders from Jatt and Muslim communities have been sharing common stage and delivering morale-boosting speeches to the farmers.

The gathering at Shamli was the fifth Mahapanchayat so far. There have been gatherings in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh and Jind, Haryana.

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait warned the government that similar panchayats would be held across the country if their demand for the repeal of the three new farm laws was not met.

The rallies have been triggered by a police crackdown against the farmers and an attempt to arrest Tikait from the Ghazipur farmer protest site on the Delhi-UP border. During the face-off, Tikait broke down and delivered an emotional appeal to his supporters who poured out in thousands giving a new life to the 73-day-old farmer agitation.

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