Tikait slams lathicharge on farmers demanding crop MSP, threatens larger agitation

Chandigarh: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday threatened an larger agitation than the yearlong protest against the now repealed farm laws if the government didn’t announce a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) for procurement of crops.

Tikait, who reached Shahabad in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district, to extend support to the agitating farmers and those who were arrested, condemned the police lathicharge on protesting farmers who had blocked a national highway a day earlier demanding that the Haryana government should procure sunflower seeds at the MSP.

Claiming that the MSP for crops is a pan-India issue, he said, “This is the first lathicharge in the country on those demanding MSP.”

“The struggle that began in Shahabad would reach the national level as every farmer is concerned about the MSP for different crops. An agitation bigger than the one in Delhi will have to be undertaken for the MSP, ” Tikait told the media in Karnal.

Nine leaders of the BKU (Charuni) faction, including its president Gurnam Singh Charuni, were arrested on Tuesday evening for blocking the national highway 44 connecting Chandigarh with Delhi.

Charged for rioting, unlawful assembly and using of criminal force to deter public servant from discharging the duty, the leaders were sent to judicial custody on Wednesday.

On the wrestlers’ protest in Delhi, Tikait said the farmer unions were in favour of talks being held between the government and the grapplers to resolve the issue.

A day after the police baton-charged and used water cannon to get protesting farmers evicted from the national highway, farmers owing allegiance with the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Charuni) staged a sit-in protest for a second day against the arrest of leaders.

The farmers have been demanding the BJP-led state government should begin the procurement of sunflower seeds at the MSP of Rs 6, 400 per quintal.

The farmers say they are selling the produce at Rs 4, 000 per quintal to private buyers against the MSP of Rs 6, 400. Also they demand the government to withdraw its decision to procure sunflower seeds for Rs 1, 000 per quintal under the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana.