Sikhs to Jats, how the profile of UP Gate protest has changed | Ghaziabad News – Times of India


GHAZIABAD: The long line of tractors has given way to SUVs with “Jat Jindabad” written on some of their windscreens. More than Punjabi, it’s now heartland Hindi and Haryanvi that can be heard here.
At UP Gate, the profile of protesters has changed over the past couple of days. From an agitation dominated by Sikhs from Punjab and the Terai region, it’s now a Jat-majority protest at the Ghazipur border. This is because Jats from western UP and Haryana have mostly responded to the emotional call made by Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait to join the protest at UP Gate and keep the agitation alive.
Farmers said the number of tractors had reduced here because of restrictions imposed by the administration on them. “The scenes of Tikait baba in tears stirred our emotions. It felt like one of our own was in deep distress. We set off in our private cars and SUVs as there was urgency. The very next day, we were here,” said Avtar Singh, a farmer from Sisauli.
The farmers said most of the tractors that lined up the DME till last week had left for the villages after the January 26 parade. “The idea was to bring more and more tractors for the Republic Day parade to Delhi. That is why most people had come in their tractors despite the slow speed. But now, they are coming in their own vehicles,” said Rajveer Singh, a local BKU leader.
Most Sikh farmers from Punjab and the Terai region left the UP Gate protest site after VM Singh, who is believed to wield considerable clout among farmers from the region, withdrew his participation from the agitation.
“Even at Singhu and Tikri, which were dominated by Sikh protesters, their numbers dwindled. At UP Gate, too, the number of protesters would have been less had it not been for Rakesh Tikait’s call to revive the protest,” said Singh.
The mahapanchayat convened by BKU president Naresh Tikait in Muzaffarnagar also provided impetus to the UP Gate protest. “Tikait’s call that he is thirsty and will have water only from the village had the desired effect. At the mahapanchayat, it was decided that one member from each family would go to the protest site. Slowly, the profile of protesters changed,” Singh added.

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