New Delhi: Delhi’s borders are looking like war zones, with concrete barriers, concertina wires and massive deployment of forces by the government as the farmer protests continue to swell.
Iron rods have been hooked between two rows of cement barriers on a flank of the main highway at the Singhu border to further restrict the movement of protesters, agitating against the Centre's new farm laws, according to PTI.
At Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, there are multi-layer barricades to stop the movement of vehicles. Barbed wire has also been put up to keep off people on foot. There are also reports of roads being dug with JCBs in some places.
Farmer unions have announced a countrywide 'chakka jam' on February 6 when they would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
Another portion of the highway at the Delhi-Haryana border has been practically blocked as a makeshift cement wall has come up there, prompting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to call for “building bridges rather than walls,” to reach out to protesting farmers.
According to Indian Express, farmers in Haryana, including women, are turning out in large numbers at dahran sites on highway toll plazas to protest against the farm laws and in support of the farmers at Delhi border who have been agitating for over two months now.
“At the Landhri toll plaza on Hisar-Sirsa national highway near Hisar, thousands of farmers vowed to wage a long battle against the three farm laws that they described as “anti-farmer”. A large number of women also participated in the meeting, which was addressed by farmer leaders Ashok Dhawale, Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Gurnam Singh Chaduni. The women had arrived singing revolutionary songs,” said the report.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party ally, JJP’s district president Inderjit Singh Goraya resigned from the party on Tuesday in solidarity with farmers protesting against the Centre's agriculture laws.
Goraya, a leader of Jannayak Janta Party, which is a coalition partner of the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana, quit saying he had earlier asked Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala to exert pressure on the Centre to rollback these “anti-farmers” laws.
“The stir against these farm laws has become a people's movement but the Centre is not accepting the demand farmers’ demand to repeal them,” he said.
He alleged that instead of accepting farmers' demands “the Centre is using tactics to defame the agitation after the events which happened in Delhi on January 26."
Anger Against Internet Ban
On Tuesday, farmers also blocked the Patiala-Jind-Rohtak-Delhi national highway at Khatkar toll plaza near Narwana town along the Jind and Hisar-Chandigarh national highway to oppose internet curbs in some parts of Haryana, according to Indian Express.
The protesting farmers said suspension of internet services had adversely affected the studies of their children.
“Not only farmers but people from all sections of society are upset because of the suspension of internet services. It has affected not only the studies of the children but also official work” a khap leader, Azad Palwa, told IE at Katkar toll plaza.
Criticising the government for banning internet that had affected official and other professional work as well as trade and business, Khera Khap leader Satbir Pahalwan told IE that “Till now, they (BJP government) were harassing the farmers but now they are harassing the entire country. This government is pushing for digital India but has suspended the internet services that has affected the functioning of banks and shops too.”
Punjab All-Party Meet
Meanwhile, in Punjab all-party meet convened by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh demanded immediate withdrawal of the three farm laws while holding the BJP-led Central government responsible for a “substantial delay” in resolving the crisis. Terming the violence during the tractor rally on Republic Day in Delhi as “sponsored”, the meeting also demanded a judicial probe into the “laxity and complicity” of those responsible for maintaining peace at the Red Fort.
The meeting also decided to send an all-party delegation to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and raise various issues relating to farmers' agitation.
While the BJP boycotted the meeting, the Aam Aadmi Party walked out over their demand for deployment of the Punjab police personnel to protect farmers protesting at Delhi borders, said PTI.
The Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, Lok Insaaf Party, SAD (Democratic), Bahujan Samaj Party, CPI and CPI (M) attended the meeting, a government release said.
(with inputs from PTI)