Hundreds of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members stayed put on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway on Friday as the crowd swelled there overnight. On a call of the BKU, more farmers from western Uttar Pradesh districts such as Meerut, Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad and Bulandshahr reached the UP Gate by early morning to join the stir.
Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey and Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani visited the protest site post midnight to review the situation. Many of these personnel, including those from the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF), left the protest site in the dead of the night following official instructions.
Meanwhile, a confrontation was building up at the UP Gate where BKU members led by Rakesh Tikait are staying put since November 28 last year. Flanked by supporters at 1 am, Tikait remained at the centrestage of the protest site.
"We will not vacate the spot. We will talk to the Government of India about our issues. I urge the people to remain peaceful," Rakesh Tikait, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson, said.
Earlier on Thursday, some BKU protestors were served notices under section 133 (removal of public nuisance) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on Thursday.
Meanwhile, border points at Tikri and Singhu remained under heavy police deployment on Friday in the aftermath of the violence that broke out during a tractor parade by farmers in the national capital on Republic Day.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The protesting farmers have expressed the apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.