New Delhi: Seated at the farmers’ protest site at the Ghazipur border, Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait without mincing words said that the Indian celebrities who have spoken out in support of the government, should not oppose the peasants if they cannot support protesting farmers.
“Sachin Tendulkar should not have given such a statement. He is considered as the ‘God of cricket’. He has always brought laurels for India. People respect him. Akshay Kumar also has a good image because of his cinematic work. They could have issued such statements under some kind of pressure. If they can’t support us, then they shouldn’t even oppose us (Farmers Protest),” said Rakesh Tikait to eNewsroom in an exclusive interview.
He was reacting to the statements of Indian celebrities in response to international celebrities extending their solidarity with farmers.
India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants.
Indians know India and should decide for India. Let's remain united as a nation.#IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) February 3, 2021
Tikait also condemned the FIR registered against unnamed people by Delhi police when climate activist Greta Thunberg extended her solidarity with the protesting farmers. When asked about the reason for Mahapanchayats being held one by one in several districts of Uttar Pradesh, Tikait said, “Farmers are in trouble that is why they have come out of their houses to join the movement in huge numbers.”
Since pop singer Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, American lawyer Meenakshi Harris (niece of Kamala Harris), Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon and others tweeted to draw the world’s attention towards farmers’ more than two months long agitation against the three contentious farm laws implemented by PM Narendra Modi-led central government, a section of Indian celebrities including Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble, Suresh Raina, Saina Nehwal, Lata Mangeshkar, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Sunil Shetty, Kangna Ranaut, and many others termed international voices as “interference in the internal matter of India” and “threat to India’s sovereignty”. They all tweeted after the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted that such tweets were part of propaganda against India.
As the international controversy erupted over the tweeter war between international and Indian celebrities, UN Human Rights extended its solidarity with farmers’ protest.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 2, 2021
On the call of Samyukt Kisan Morcha, chakka jam was observed at various parts of the country however, Rakesh told that they (farmers) excluded UP and Uttarakhand from this Chakka jam because they had inputs about some ‘miscreants’ creating nuisance at their otherwise peaceful movement by carrying both the national and farmer flags together under a “pre-planned conspiracy” there.
Ultimatum to Govt. after Chakka Jam
Earlier while addressing the farmers at Delhi’s Ghazipur border, Tikait sharply reacted over razor wire fencing by the police at the farmers protest site. He warned the government to withdraw the three agri-laws else be prepared the non-political movement to be strengthened at all India level.
“We won’t go back till we remove the nails fixed by the government,” he said, implying that the farmers would be on the streets till the laws are rolled back.
#India: We call on the authorities and protesters to exercise maximum restraint in ongoing #FarmersProtests. The rights to peaceful assembly & expression should be protected both offline & online. It's crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to #HumanRights for all.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 5, 2021
“Don’t complain if the fathers of those in armed forces will be seen sitting at the protest sites with the photos of their sons. Either the government withdraws all the three laws and brings in new MSP law or we will start Yatras across India. A non-political movement will be held across the country,” he said while informing that farmers have given a deadline till 2nd October to the government.
“They (government) don’t have any love for the country but corporates. They are not concerned about farmers but their crops,” said Tikait while maintaining that farmers are ready for talks but that should be “unconditional”.
Notices to tractor owners
Since farmers organised a tractor rally on Republic Day, several got notices for using tractors were old and had been asked by NGT (National Green Tribunal) to not use them in Delhi. Tikait said that farmers will also agitate against such notices.
“Those who brought tractors here are getting notices. By removing 10-year-old tractors, they want to benefit capitalists. Our next target is to move 40 lakh tractors across India,” said Tikait.