Internet suspension, barricades non-conducive for talks with Govt: Farmer leader

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Ghaziabad, Feb 2 (PTI) Continued internet suspension in areas on Delhi's outskirts, barricading and installation of barbed wires around protest sites by the Centre will not create a conducive atmosphere for talks over contentious new laws, a farmer leader said here Tuesday.

Joginder Singh Ugraha of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers unions protesting farm laws, said this at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border where he reached with hundreds of supporters to meet Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.

Ghazipur, the camping site of protests led by BKU since November, has virtually turned into a fortress with multi-layer barricading, concertina wires coming up around the site and deployment of large number of security personnel to prevent protestors' movement to Delhi.

Internet continues to remain suspended at protest sites on Delhi's borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, disconnecting protestors from accessing social media, among other online forums.

'The credit for saving this movement goes to Rakesh Tikait who has thwarted government's attempts to end it. The way government has suspended Internet, disrupted water supply, set up barricades and barbed wires around protest sites today, this will not create a conducive atmosphere for talks,' Singh said, according to a statement sent by BKU's media in-charge Dharmendra Malik.

Later, Tikait credited the youth coming in from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh with saving the protest. He lauded their support for arriving at Ghazipur overnight when the agitation had started losing its momentum after the Republic Day violence in Delhi.

'Young men from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had come here in large numbers at 2 in the night. Their love and belief has saved this movement,' said the 51-year-old BKU spokesperson, whose emotional appeal last week turned the tide in farmers' favour.

He also wondered at the government's approach towards the vexing issue over suspension of internet, enhanced security installations, disruption of water supply and removal of mobile toilets from protest sites.

'There is no place for depriving citizens of basic rights in a democracy,' Tikait said, hours after meeting Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who came to extend support of his party and Maharashtra government to the peasants' movement.

BKU's Malik said hundreds of protestors were staying put at Ghazipur on Tuesday night and the number of 'langars' and 'bhandaras' (community meals) has also gone up.

Gurjar leader Mainpal Chauhan also reached Ghazipur with hundreds of his community members from Kairana region in Shamli district of western Uttar Pradesh, he said.

Chauhan presented a 'pagdi' to Tikait and extended support of his community, Malik added. PTI KIS AAR AAR