Scores of farmers led by Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait were on Sunday stopped by the Delhi Police at the Ghazipur border as they tried to enter the national Capital to take part in a protest called by agitating wrestlers outside the new Parliament building. Tikait and his supporters called off his protest at the Delhi-Ghazipur border after staying put there for almost eight hours.
Permission for the protest has not given to the wrestlers who have been on a sit-in at the Jantar Mantar, demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexually harassing women grapplers.
“All others (farmers) have been stopped (by the police). We will sit here for now and decide what to do next,” Tikait, who had spearheaded the anti-farm law protests, said after being stopped by the police at the heavily fortified Ghazipur border. Heated arguments erupted between security personnel and farmers, who tried to break barricades to enter Delhi amid heavy police presence.
A senior police officer said the Ghazipur border has now been closed as a precautionary measure to prevent the farmers’ entry into the national capital. There were traffic jams on routes to Anand Vihar and other adjoining areas, and the officer said that necessary traffic diversions have been made.
BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said that the farmers’ group will raise the issue of the wrestlers in the next Kisan Panchayat. “Wherever the next panchayat is held, this issue will be a part of its agenda. Earlier during the protest, Tikait without taking anyone’s said, “the one who is a part of the government, will not go to jail, whatever his crime,” apparently referring to Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, against whom the wrestlers are protesting with accusations of sexual harassment.
In the wake of the call for ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’ by the protesting wrestlers, elaborate security arrangements with multiple layers of barricades and pickets were put in place at the Delhi borders to ensure there is no disturbance on the day of the inaugural ceremony of New Parliament building.