Balmiki Samaj members in Ghaziabad carry effigy of Rakesh Tikait in bier, burn it

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Ghaziabad, July 5 (PTI) Days after a clash between BJP workers and anti-farm law protesters in Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, members of Balmiki Samaj here carried the effigy of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait in a bier and burnt it on Monday.

The Balmiki Samaj members have been holding protests over the issue for a couple of days now.

BJP councillor of Ghaziabad civic body, Yashpal Pahalwan, who led the procession, demanded an apology from Tikait over the incident.

'If Tikait apologises, everything will be set aside. The Balmiki Samaj is in no way concerned about the farmers' protest. The BKU has blocked the National Highway 24 due to which the people are facing many problems. Many people have lost their lives as their ambulances got stuck in traffic jams due to the blockade,' he said.

The clash occurred on June 30 when the BJP workers were carrying out a procession on a flyway where the protesters, chiefly supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, have been camping since November 2020, according to eye-witnesses.

A scuffle had broken between the members of the two sides on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and soon they were attacking each other with sticks which led to injuries to some people, they said.

While the farmers alleged that the episode was a conspiracy of the BJP and the RSS to quell the seven-month-old protest, the ruling party workers claimed that abuses and casteist slurs were hurled against them when they were taking out a welcome procession for the newly-appointed BJP general secretary Amit Valmiki that led to the clash.

Ghaziabad city magistrate Bipin Kumar said on Monday that the Balmiki Samaj members did not seek permission to take out the procession in the city where CrPc section 144 is in force.

During the Covid pandemic, permission for such a procession cannot be granted, he added. PTI CORR NSD NSD

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