Rakesh Tikait on Modi’s latest appeal to protesting farmers: ‘Thankful for PM’s initiative but…’

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Updated: Jan 31, 2021 3:07 PM

About 400 protesters have been arrested by Delhi Police in connection with violence during tractor rally on Republic Day. Following the violence in which over 350 police personnel got injured, four farmer unions pulled out of months-long protest against three farm laws.

Bharatiya KIsan Union's Rakesh Tikait (ANI)

Day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that the Centre’s offer to put farm laws on hold was still there, Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said that there won’t be any agreement under pressure. Tikait said he will hold discussions but wanted his people released. “We will hold discussions on the issue, the Prime Minister is ours also, we are thankful for his initiative, we will respect it. We want our people to be released,” Rakesh Tikait was quoted as saying by ANI.

About 400 protesters have been arrested by Delhi Police in connection with violence during tractor rally on Republic Day. Following the violence in which over 350 police personnel got injured, four farmer unions pulled out of months-long protest against three farm laws. The Delhi Police booked top farmer leaders in connection with the violence. Among the key leader who have been booked are Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal, Yogendra Yadav, and Balbir Singh Rajewal.

Two days after the violence, the Ghaziabad administration asked the protesting farmers to vacate the Ghazipur site. A heavy police deployment was made at the site and crackdown was expected by night. Initial reports suggested that Rakesh Tikait was planning to surrender before the police. However, that did not happen as Tikait claimed that the BJP leaders were planning to target the farmers. He said he was thinking of ending the protest but now that will not happen.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Modi met all party leaders and asked them to tell their supporters that the Centre’s proposal to farmers was still there and the government was just a call away for another round of talks. “I want to reiterate what Narendra Singh Tomar told farmers. He said — we have not reached to consensus but we are giving you (farmers) the offer and you may go and deliberate. He told farmers that he was just a phone call away,” PM Modi told the all-party meeting.

The Centre has proposed to put the thee farm laws on hold for 1.5 years and form a committee to look into the issues raised by the protesting farmers. The government has made it clear that it is the best that can do with regards to laws. However, the farmers have been demanding complete rollback of laws.

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