THE Yavatmal district administration on Friday once again refused permission for the proposed farmers’ rally on Saturday.
The administration had refused permission for the rally, or Kisan Mahapanchayat, for the first time on Thursday. To be organised under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the rally was to be addressed by Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.
But Tikait cancelled his visit after he was reportedly told that he might be quarantined for 14 days after he arrives in Yavatmal.
After the first refusal by authorities in view of increasing Covid-19 cases in Yavatmal, organisers of the rally had approached the authorities again on Thursday, seeking permission afresh and saying they were ready to abide by all Covid regulations.
But Yavatmal District Collector M D Singh told The Indian Express, “We have refused permission again for the same reasons.”
SKM Maharashtra coordinator Sandip Gidde had said on Thursday, “We are ready to hold the rally with just 50 participants by following all Covid norms. If we are refused permission again, we will hold a sit-in in front of the Collector office.” Singh, however, said, “A delegation had come to meet me… but they didn’t tell me anything like a 50-person only rally.” On Friday, Gidde told The Indian Express, “There is some conspiracy… somebody called Tikait and identified himself as SP of Yavatmal… he told Tikait that he would be quarantined for 14 days if he comes to Yavatmal. So, Tikait cancelled his plan to come here.”
He added, “We asked the SP but he said he had made no such call to Tikait.”
Yavatmal Superintendent of Police Dilip Bhujbal said, “I have not called anyone, including Tikait, but I did tell the local organisers that they will not be allowed to hold the rally because of the Covid-19 situation.”
Asked if they will still hold the rally, Gidde said, “… We will start from Nagpur at 10 am on Saturday and reach Yavatmal to hold the rally, as decided. Leaders like Guramneet Singh, Tejveer Singha and Amandeep Singh are coming from Ghazipur and Tikri borders. We are expecting a crowd of about 5,000-7,000 people.”
SP Bhujbal, however, warned, “We will not allow anyone to enter the district…”.
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