Tensions rose at Delhi’s Ghazipur border on Thursday night, after the administration in neighboring Ghaziabad district issued orders for protesting farmers to vacate the site by night. Late Thursday, more farmers started arriving in Ghazipur even as several appeals were made by leaders in western UP asking others to join Friday. Protestors returned to the sites as they saw a viral video of BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, who is leading the protest at Delhi-UP border, as declared that he was “ready to face bullets” if needed.

Late last evening, a massive force of security personnel gathered at the Ghazipur border, ready to drive the protesters out even if it took all night. These included 300 CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) personnel, 600 troops of the Provincial Armed Constabulary and 1,000 police personnel.

Tikait issued an emotional appeal on stage at the site where he said that the agitation would continue. As videos of the leader breaking down started doing the circulating, farmers in Haryana blocked the Chandigarh national highway near Kandela village of Jind district. The leader said, “They want to destroy farmers, we will not allow this to happen. Either the laws will be taken back, or Tikait will kill himself. This is a conspiracy against farmers”.

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This video ensued a throng of farmers returning to Ghazipur to attend a “Mahapanchayat” called by Rakesh Tikait today mrning at Muzzaffarnagar. In order to dissuade the farmers from protesting, the administration had cut off the electricity and water supply at the protest sites, which was restored today morning. Two other key border points, Tikri and the epicenter of farmers’ protests, Singhu, have also been placed under heavy security. The police have dug up roads using JCB machines.

Tikait also said, “We will not vacate the spot. We will talk to the Government of India about our issues. I urge the people to remain peaceful”. Delhi Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia arrived at the Ghazipur border today morning to meet the protesting farmers.

President Ram Nath Kovind said that the government has attempted to bring a positive change in the system, so that Indian agriculture can become modern and can expand. He said, “Today, my government is not only purchasing record quantity on MSP but also increasing the number of procurement centers.” He added, “The need of the hour is that special attention should be paid to the small and marginal farmers who have only one or two hectares of land in the agricultural sector. More than 80 percent of all farmers in the country are small farmers and their number is more than 10crore”.

The President criticized the violence on Republic Day and said, “The national flag and a holy day like Republic Day were insulted in the past few days. The Constitution that provides us Freedom of Expression, is the same Constitution that teaches us that law & rules have to be followed seriously”.

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