Non-Jats too at Shamli meet

It’s now about rural, not agri economy | Haryana gears up for ‘chakka jam’ today

Non-Jats too at Shamli meet

Farmers wave the Tricolour during a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh. PTI

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5

Amid the growing opposition to the Centre’s agri laws, thousands of farmers today turned up for a “kisan mahapanchayat” in western Uttar Pradesh’s Bhainswal village in Shamli. The protesters reached the village on tractors, two-wheelers, four-wheelers as well as on foot, defying prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.

Ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections, this is the fourth major farmers’ meeting in western UP after Muzaffarnagar, Mathura and Baghpat. Sources say BJP’s rivals in the state are trying to make it an agitation regarding rural economy, not just farm economy, by including non-Jats, especially the Dalits.The meeting today was attended by members from “all castes and professions,” they say. So far, the protests against the farm laws have been led by ‘Jats’ and ‘Gujjars’, the land-owning castes.

BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait at the Ghazipur border. Manas Ranjan Bhui

Prof Sudhir Panwar, who belongs to Bhainswal and is affiliated with the Samajwadi Party, said: “The aim is to make it all about rural economy instead of agri economy. After all, non-farming castes in the village are largely dependent on farmers for their income.”

Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has extended the suspension of mobile Internet services in Sonepat and Jhajjar districts till 5 pm tomorrow in view of the three-hour “chakka jam” by farm unions. The farmers, however, say emergency and essential services will not be hindered.

Farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait is expected to arrive at the Kitlana toll plaza in Charkhi Dadri on February 7 to participate in a mahapanchayat, Independent MLA and Sangwan khap pradhan Sombir Sangwan said.

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