LUCKNOW/MUZAFFARNAGAR: A large number of farmers from different states on Sunday participated in a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ held in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district in protest against the Centre’s controversial farm laws.
The mahapanchayat organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) was held at the Government Inter College ground in Muzaffarnagar, ahead of the crucial UP assembly polls next year.
Bharatiya Kisan Union media in-charge Dharmendra Malik said farmers belonging to 300 organisations spread across different states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, among others, have gathered for the event.
He said over 5,000 ‘langars’ (food stalls), including some mobile stalls, have been set up for the participants.
The farmers, including women carrying flags of different organisations and wearing different coloured caps, were seen arriving at the venue in buses, cars and tractors.
A number of medical camps have also been set up in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, the Muzaffarnagar district administration denied the request of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to sprinkle flowers from a helicopter on the venue and participants of the mahapanchayat.
City magistrate Abhishek Singh rejected the request, saying it cannot be allowed due to security reasons.
RLD chief Jayant Chaudhry had earlier sought permission from the district authorities to allow sprinkling of flowers from a helicopter on the mahapanchayat in honour of the agitating farmers.
The district authorities have posted police personnel at the residences of Union minister Sanjiv Balyan and BJP MLA Umesh Malik here, as a precautionary measure.
The SKM on Saturday claimed that thousands of farmers from 15 states had reached Muzaffarnagar to participate in the mahapanchayat’.
The umbrella body of 40 farmer unions spearheading the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws said the event will prove that the agitation has the support of “all castes, religions, states, classes, small traders and other sections of the society” “The mahapanchayat of September 5 will make the Yogi-Modi governments realise the power of farmers, farm labourers, and supporters of the farm movement.
The Muzaffarnagar mahapanchayat will be the biggest ever in the last nine months,” the SKM had said in a statement.
It had said 100 medical camps had also been set up for the farmers attending the mahapanchayat.
A total of 32 farmer unions from Punjab have given a deadline of September 8 to the state government to withdraw cases against protestors, it said, adding that if the cases are not withdrawn, the farmers will prepare a roadmap for a bigger protest on September 8.
The farmers’ protest against the three contentious laws have completed over nine months since they first arrived at the Delhi borders.
The farmers have been demanding the repeal of the laws which they are afraid will do away with the MSP system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
Meanwhile, the Muzaffarnagar district authorities have ordered closure of all wine shops in view of the mahapanchayat.