Rakesh Tikait and Naresh Tikait, these two names have been making rounds on social media and news media in reports regarding the farmer’s protest. But who is Rakesh Tikait? What is the role of the Tikait Brothers in the ongoing farmer’s protest? Let’s find out.
A surprising clash between the Tikait brothers (Rakesh Tikait and Naresh Tikait) has become evident after Naresh Tikait, who serves as the president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union proclaimed at the Ghazipur protest site that the farmers should vacate the protest site as there was pressure from the administration. His brother Rakesh, however, who is the spokesperson of the union, claimed that the protest will continue unabated.
On Thursday, Rakesh Tikait accused the government of trapping the farmer community in a conspiracy and said how the farmers will continue their sit-in protest against the three farm laws. Tikait said, “We will face bullets, but not leave the protest. There is a conspiracy to end this agitation, but it will not end. They want to destroy the farmers.”
The Tikait Family
Mahendra Singh Tikait, who was the prominent farmer figure in Uttar Pradesh had four sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Naresh Tikait serves as the National President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and, the second son Rakesh, serves as the National Spokesperson of the same organization. On third number is Surendra Tikait who according to reports is employed as a manager in a sugar mill in Meerut. And lastly, Narendra Tikait continues to work in the agriculture sector.
Foundation of the Bharatiya Kisan Union
As mentioned earlier Mahendra Singh was an influential figure among the farmers in Muzaffarnagar. He later went on to lay the foundation of the Uttar Pradesh arm of Bharatiya Kisan Union. BKU was originally founded by Chaudhary Charan Singh who was later elected as India’s Prime Minister.
The foundation of BKU was laid in 1987 when the farmers came together for a movement under the command of Mahendra Singh Tikait in Shamli district. In this movement, two farmers lost their lives in police firing.
After this incident, the BKU’s foundation was laid and Mahendra Singh Tikait became its first president. Ever since then he continued to fight for farmers’ upliftment and remained an influential figure throughout his life.
After his death, the position of National President was passed on to his eldest son Naresh. While Naresh took the reins of the organization as a President, younger brother Rakesh became the National Spokesperson.
The early life of Rakesh Tikait
Rakesh Singh Tikait was born on 4 June 1969 in Muzaffarnagar district. Coming from a humble background, Rakesh did a post-graduate degree during days where merely a graduation was considered an achievement. Rakesh did MA from Meerut University and later went on to complete his LLB.
Rakesh Tikait and the Legacy of fighting for farmers
Rakesh Tikait was handed the baton of fighting for farmer’s rights, and that’s what he continued doing his whole life. According to reports, Rakesh has been jailed for 44 times in his life for his protests and causes. During an incident where sugarcane prices were inflated by the government, Rakesh took it upon himself to fight for farmers and went to the Parliament and burnt sugarcane as a sign of protest.
Rakesh Tikait and his days as Sub Inspector
In 1985, Rakesh Tikait started working as a Sub Inspector in Delhi Police. In 90s, India saw another farmers’ movement under the leadership of Rakesh’s father Mahendra. As the movement progressed, Rakesh faced immense political pressure to urge his father to end the protest and call off the stir. Rakesh Tikait made a difficult choice and quit his job with the Delhi police to stand by his father and the farmer’s community. Since then Rakesh and his brother have been working for farmer’s rights.
Tikait Brothers and the ongoing farmer’s protest
As the spokesperson of BKU Rakesh Tikait along with his brother and the National President of the BKU has spearheaded the ongoing farmer’s protest. In a recent development, the Tikait brothers along with other farm leaders are listed in the FIR filed by the Delhi Police in connection with the violence that was erupted during the Republic Day tractor parade.
On Thursday, the Ghaziabad district magistrate announced an ultimatum to the farm unions who have to protest on the border to leave the protest site by midnight. Rakesh Tikait however made an emotional appeal to his farmer brothers and declared that the protest will continue. While speaking to the news media, Tikait broke down in tears.
We’ll continue our sit-in protest & will not vacate site till talks with government are held. Administration has removed basic facilities including water & electricity supply. We’ll get water from our villages: Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait at Ghazipur border pic.twitter.com/oa9r39DMVw
— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2021
This speech had an immediate effect on his elder brother Naresh Tikait. Back in Rakesh’s hometown in Uttar Pradesh, several people came together outside his home and showed their support. Naresh Tikait announced in a tweet that his brother’s tears will not go in vain. According to the tweet the fate of the farmer’s protest will be decided in a mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar.
चौधरी महेंद्र सिंह टिकैत के बेटे और मेरे छोटे भाई राकेश टिकैत के ये आँसू व्यर्थ नहीं जाएंगे। कल सुबह महापंचायत होगी और अब हम इस आंदोलन को निर्णायक स्थिति तक पहुंचा कर ही दम लेंगे। pic.twitter.com/gSaqoi4xzk
— Naresh Tikait (@NareshTikait_) January 28, 2021