With lakhs of farmers making their way to Delhi as part of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ march to demand for a rollback of the three Farm Laws, police forces and paramilitary personnel have used every trick in the book to try and stop them.
The farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh have had to brave water cannons and tear gas shelling, even as the authorities dug up roads, put up barricades, trucks and even shipping containers in their way. Some farmers have been injured due to action taken by Haryana and Delhi police personnel.
This morning, the Samyilt Kisan Morcha, a joint farmers committee, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking the Central Government to stop the “confrontationist attitude” it has adopted in response to the protests.
The farmers’ letter to the PM comes at a time when the police forces have used unprecedented force and means to stop the farmers march from reaching New Delhi.
At the Tigri border in west Delhi, some farmers were injured after the police resorted to the use of water cannons, even exhausting one.
Three to four water cannons were used at the border with tear gas shelling. An All India Kisan Sabha leader said that it was “shameful” that the government had chosen the methods it had, given that it was warned of the protest two months ago. “Aaj kisaan aar paar ke mood mein hain,” he added.
In Bahadurgarh, a couple of kilometres from Delhi, the police jammed the roads with trucks.
At the Sonipat border, farmers broke through police barricades after filling up the trenches dug up by the police personnel and made their way to Delhi.
There were water cannons, police in riot gear with trenches dug and barricading done at the Sonipat border on Thursday night. Container trucks and shipping containers were used to stop the farmers from moving forward.
The Delhi Police used tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers who had reached the Singhu border as part of the protest march on Friday. The shells were fired at the border which connects Delhi with Haryana.
In its statement to the PM, the farmers’ committee wrote that the farmers have had to face “unprecedented obstacles placed in their way by Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments presumably also at the behest of the central government.”
“Thousands of farmers have reached the borders of the capital region of the country, and just like we have been resolutely moving forward, we shall continue to do so today as well,” it added.
The farmers bodies wrote that the government should stop the confrontation and not deny “the largest section of our society an opportunity to be heard” and that a “sincere dialogue” should happen.
The following are their demands:
• Ensure that the farmers have a free and safe passage into Delhi without creating a situation where any untoward incident is justified later on, as having been necessitated, which will cause a completely avoidable break away from the very peaceful manner that we have adopted so far;
• Allot us a space like Ramlila Maidan where we can gather and also hold talks with the government.
• Call the all-India/regional platforms of the farmers for sincere discussions with senior ministers of your cabinet on our demands to repeal the 3 Farm Acts and the Electricity Bill 2020.
Meanwhile, authorities in Haryana have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of the protesters.
The Delhi Police have sought permission from the AAP government to use the city's nine stadiums as temporary jails.
In order to prevent farmers from entering Delhi, police deployment was made at NH-24, DND, Chilla Border, Tigri border, Bahadurgarh border, Fridabad border, Kalindi Kunj border and Singhu border on Thursday night.
( Inputs from the protest sites by Mukund, Ronak, Anand, Ankit and Nikhil)