CBI raids rice, wheat godowns in Punjab, Haryana amid farmers-cops stand-off

Ghazipur border near Delhi-UP border emerges as a flash point as farmers refuse to vacate the area

Farmers protest
Farmers during their ongoing protest against the new farm laws at Delhi-Ghazipur border. The US has called for peaceful dialogue to resolve the issue | Photo: PTI

The CBI has since Thursday (January 28) conducted searches at state-owned rice and wheat godowns in Punjab and seized samples, media reports quoting multiple sources said. The central probe agency’s action coincided with the stand-off involving farmers, mostly belonging to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and the armed police following Republic Day violence.

Reports said the godowns belong to the Punjab Grains Procurement Corporation (PUNGRAIN), Punjab Warehousing, and a few of the FCI. Raids were under way at Moga, Fazilka, Patti among other places in Punjab and at 10 places in Haryana. Sources said samples of wheat and rice procured in 2019-20 and 2020-21 were being seized.

Thousands of farmers have locked horns with the Centre over the new farm laws.

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Around 400 Delhi personnel received serious injuries and are being treated at several hospitals in Delhi in the aftermath of the January 26 violence and vandalism especially at Delhi’s iconic Red Fort.

Also read: Tharoor, Rajdeep, other journalists booked for sedition over R-Day violence

Media reports said the police have named 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar among others. Punjabi actor-singer Deep Sidhu and gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana, have also been mentioned in the FIRs.

Past midnight on Thursday (January 28-29), the Ghazipur border near Uttar Pradesh became a centre of farmers’ defiance against the police force. The cops were seen trying to move farmers away from protest sites. Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait has said he is ready to “face bullets or kill himself”. The video clips of his emotional appeals led to several protestors returning to the site at Ghazipur, where local residents joined in the counter-protest demanding the area be vacated as they were facing problems.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has called a “Mahapanchayat” or meeting amid a huge backlash over violence during their tractor rally on Tuesday. Some parts of the Delhi border have been closed to traffic.

Also read: Crowds of farmers pour in as sobbing Tikait says ‘no surrender’

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