Farmers attending intl meet rush to Sisalui in Tikait's defence

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (UNI) Farmers attending an international meet here on global agriculture crisis today left for Sisauli in defence of Bharatiya Kisan Union president Mahinder Singh Tikait against whom a case has been lodged under the SC/ST Act for using objectionable lanuage against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.

''We have decided to leave for Sisauli to protest the move by the UP government to arrest Tikait,'' said Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of BKU's Punjab unit.

Tikait was also to address the meet but had to skip the programme following the presence of police in his village.

The meet also passsed a resolution seeking the intervention of the President of India to control the situation in Sisauli. ''The Indian co-ordination committee along with the support of the International Farmers' Movement -- La Via Campesina-- demands the interference of the Union government and if necessary also the President of India to control the situation and to see that the law is used to protect the people of the country and not powers and political parties,'' the resolution read.

The resolution also charged BSP president and Chief Minister Mayawati with ''continuous repression of the farmers' movement in UP.'' Meanwhile, a report from Lucknow said tension prevailed in Sisauli village of Muzaffarnagar district where at least ten policemen were injured this morning when the members of BKU attacked the police which had gone to arrest its leader Mahendra Singh Tikait.

Tikait was charged with using objectionable languge against UP Chief Minister Mayawati at a rally in Bijnor yesterday.

Subsequently, an FIR was lodged against him under the provisions of SC and ST Act but the police's attempts to arrest him failed due to stiff resistance from BKU workers who helped him reach Sisauli, his native village.

At least ten policemen were injured when the BKU workers attacked the police.

However, Tikait could not be arrested, police admitted.

UNI NAB RR KN1538

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