Mathura mahapanchayat to block Yamuna Expressway

(This story originally appeared in on Jan 31, 2021)

AGRA: A day after the massive mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar, thousands of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh gathered in Mathura on Saturday to attend a similar event organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) to express solidarity with their counterparts protesting against the new farm laws near the Delhi borders and announced plans to block the Yamuna Expressway.

Final decision to block e-way next week

At the Mathura event, called the ‘Mahapanchayat of Khaps’ held in the district’s Bajna town, farmer leaders said that 10,000 farmers will block the expressway in the coming days to put pressure on the government to withdraw the farm laws. However, the final decision will be taken in the next mahapanchayat, scheduled for next week.

Confirming this, BKU district president Raj Kumar Tomar told TOI, “We have to put pressure on the government as it’s not listening to our grievances even after 66 days of the agitation.” He said the mahapanchayat also considered the proposal put forward by Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary that at least one member of every farmer’s family should join the ongoing protest at the Ghazipur border. However, a final decision on this, too, will be taken in the next mahapanchayat, Tomar said.

The BKU leader added that all farmers were behind Rakesh Tikait.

“The government should not make farmers responsible for violence in Delhi. They should punish the culprits and not target the entire farming community,” said a section of farm leaders during the mahapanchayat, adding that they have decided to “socially boycott” BJP leaders.

The mahapanchayat condemned the lathicharge on the protesting farmers at the Delhi border and raised slogans in their support.

In his address, Jayant Chaudhary said, “I will campaign in Mathura for a week and motivate farmers to join the ongoing protest at the Ghazipur border and Palwal.”

Later, Chaudhary told TOI that a campaign to unite and further strengthen the farmers’ movement will be launched on his father Ajit Singh’s birthday on February 12 as “a tribute to his sacrifices for the farming community”.

Samajwadi Party MLC Sanjay Lathar, too, attended the mahapanchayat.

While the administration allowed the mahapanchayat, heavy police force was deployed in Bajna to avert any untoward incident. Additional police force was deployed on Yamuna Expressway in order to maintain smooth vehicular movement.

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