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The challenges of planning a rally of thousands

Farmers, who were stopped on the UP Gate-Delhi border Tuesday, were allowed inside the national capital around midnight following which they marched to the memorials of Chaudhary Charan Singh at Kisan Ghat and Mahatma Gandhi. The farmers ended their protest after reaching Kisan Ghat, concluding the ten-day long Kisan Kranti Yatra that had started from Haridwar on September 23.

On Tuesday, the farmers had planned to march to Delhi from the UP border to reach Kisan Ghat on Gandhi Jayanti. The border was, however, sealed and fortified by the Delhi Police along with RAF and RRF personnel.

As the farmers tried to break through the barricades, the police lobbed tear gas shells and used water cannons and baton charged them. The clashes left at least 14 injured, including policemen.

The march then turned into a sit-in under the Ghazipur flyover, waiting for news from a delegation that went to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

“The aim of the yatra was to reach Kisan Ghat and we couldn’t leave without reaching it. Around 12:30, the police finally made way for us and we marched there. We reached around 1:30 and placed flowers at the memorials of Chaudhury Charan Singh and Mahatma Gandhi,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union national head Rakesh Tikait.

Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said, “After their assurance, we permitted them for a peace march from where they all dispersed.”

The farmers began returning to their villages around 4 am while those whose tractors were damaged by the police on Tuesday in the clashes waited at the Ghazipur flyover as Ghaziabad police overlooked the repair of their vehicles.

Meanwhile, the farmer leaders said though some of their demands have been accepted. the core demands were yet to be approved. “Of the 11 demands, seven were accepted but the two important demands — that of implementation of the Swaminathan Report and the loan waivers — were not,” said Yudhvir Singh, general secretary, BKU.

“We were told that these are financial matters and will be deliberated upon later.”

There was dissatisfaction and disquiet among the farmers as they wound up their rally and left for their villages. “We are very upset about how we were treated by the government yesterday. The assault was uncalled for, and the mistrust that we had has only deepened. We can feel no satisfaction from the meetings that were held with the ministers and need to see the results on the field to feel any trust towards the government. In any case, our most important demands were not approved,” said Ravinder Sharma (60) from Bulandahahr district.

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