BKU protests break out in Punjab and UP

While union members accuse police of implicating and assaulting protesting farmers, authorities claim action was justified

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Members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) are making news with successive reports of dharnas in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Particularly in Punjab, BKU-Ugrahan launched an indefinite dharna on March 30, 2022 to protest the alleged use of police force against farmers, reported the Indian Express.

According to reports, protesting farmers gathered outside the Muktsar deputy commissioner’s office to condemn police force and to demand compensation for damaged cotton crop due to pink bollworm attack. The union also announced a mega rally on April 1 for the same.

The dharna was against a March 28 incident wherein police had to free 12 government officials who were allegedly held hostage inside a sub-tehsil office in Lambi. Farmers accused authorities of lathi-charging and injuring protesters while SSP Sandeep Kumar Malik told Indian Express that they acted in a “restrained and peaceful manner”. Police also filed an FIR against 10 named persons and 100 unidentified people.

The incident occurred almost immediately after Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, was abuzz with news of BKU leader Rakesh Tikait launching a dharna on March 29. The demonstration was to condemn the arrest of local BKU members. According to The Tribune, the demonstration was called off on the same day when district authorities approached Tikait for talks.

As many as 10 BKU members were arrested on Monday after an alleged clash at the district hospital. The BKU members disrupted the examination process by trying to interrupt examination of another group at the Dr Baburam hospital. Tikait has denied the allegations.

Further, the Indian Express said that some members also caused disruption at a restaurant, and misbehaved with some hospital staff. City Superintendent of Police Arpit Vijayvargiya said the police filed two FIRs against 10 people for rioting, assault, criminal intimidation among others.

However, Tikait alleged that the group was falsely implicated. He demanded their immediate release and protested at the Kotwali police station on Tuesday morning. The dharna earned him a meeting with Additional District Magistrate Narendra Bahadur Singh and Vijayvargiya, who approached the protest spot and asked him to stop the protest. The accused were sent to 14 days of judicial custody after appearing before Chief Judicial Magistrate Manoj Kumar Jatav.


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