New Delhi: Tens of thousands of farmers are heading toward the capital to intensify their agitation against the three agri laws and block the Delhi- Jaipur highway on Saturday.
According to reports, a large convoy of tractor-trailers, buses, cars and motorcycles loaded with eatables, the farmers, mainly belonging to the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, left Amritsar city and is headed toward Delhi. There are likely to be joined by more farmers on the way. The farmers largely belong to Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Moga districts.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has increased security arrangements at the city’s border points following the announcement by agitating farmers to block the Jaipur-Delhi and the Delhi-Agra Expressways.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at various areas on Delhi’s borders for the last 16 days and demanding that the legislations be repealed after various rounds of talks with the Centre have failed to make any headway.
According to PTI, there is massive police deployment and multi-layered barricading has been done to prevent the farmers from entering the capital.
The developments come after farmer leaders on Wednesday rejected a government proposal to amend the new agri laws and announced they would intensify their agitation by blocking the Jaipur-Delhi and the Yamuna expressway by Saturday, as also picket toll plazas en route to Delhi.
According to NDTV, as many as 3,500 police personnel have been deployed at the five toll plazas near the national capital to block the movement of the protesters.
On Friday, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) seeking repeal of the three “arbitrary” laws. The top court has already issued notices to the Centre on a batch of petitions challenging the laws.
Meanwhile, cornered by the massive response and support to the farmers’ agitation, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government has launched a media exercise and the party has also planned a massive campaign across the country, involving over 100 press conferences and 700 farmers' meets in 700 districts in a bid to break the deadlock, sources in the party told NDTV.
After a failed bid to demonise the farmers’ protest by running a ‘Khalistan’ narrative, the focus of the ruling dispensation’s narrative as well as certain “government sources” has now turned to giving an ‘urban naxal” colour to the protest.
However, farmers unions have rubbished this narrative.
“We reject this claim of the government. No one can influence us. This is the government's propaganda to defame us. All the decisions are taken by the Samyukt Kisan Union," Raminder Singh Patiyal, president of one of the 32 demonstrating groups Kirti Kisan Sangathan, was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Farmers leaders on Thursday has also announced they would block railway tracks across the country if their demands were not met by the government and would announce a date for that soon.
Meanwhile, in a tweet, the traffic police on Saturday informed commuters about the closure of the Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari and Mangesh borders.
Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and GTK Road. So, commuters have been advised to avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK Road and National Highway-44, the traffic police said.
Due to the ongoing farmers' protests, it said that both the Chilla and the Ghazipur borders are also closed for traffic from Noida and Ghaziabad.
"The Chilla & Ghazipur borders are closed for traffic from Noida & Ghaziabad to Delhi due to farmers protests.People are advised to take alternate route for coming to Delhi via Anad Vihar, DND, Apsara & bhopra borders," it tweeted.
The Tikri and the Dhansa borders are also closed for traffic movement but the Jhatikara border is open only for two wheelers and pedestrian movement, the traffic police said in a tweet.
(with inputs from PTI)