Determined to make their voices heard over the controversial new farm laws, protesting farmers secured entry into the national capital on Friday (November 27), with the Delhi Police permitting them to hold a peaceful demonstration at the Nirankari ground in Burari.
The government has invited the protesting farmers for talks on the issue on December 3.
The farmers, who were part of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, started entering the capital city through Tikri border around 3 pm. They were escorted to the Nirankari ground, one of the biggest grounds in the city, in north Delhi amid tight security.
Earlier in the day at the Tikri border, the protesting farmers clashed with police and also tried to remove a truck, which was placed as a barricade to prevent their entry, by tying it to a tractor using a chain.
Farmers who had gathered at the Singhu border have not entered the city so far. They pelted stones at police and broke barricades in an attempt to enter Delhi. Police used multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse them. The area is having heavy police deployment and water cannons have been put up to prevent their entry.
Besides, clashes broke out at multiple places and Delhi’s borders resembled a virtual battle zone with restless crowds of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, milling around and a sea of police personnel keeping them at bay. Drones circled the air and plumes of smoke from teargas shells could be seen from far. Beyond border points, tension spilled over on highways where groups of farmers squatted on the road, and stood in trucks and tractors, waiting impatiently to make their way into the national capital.
Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar appealed to them to stop their protest, saying they’ve been invited for talks. “The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers. We have invited farmers’ outfits for another round of talks on December 3. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of COVID-19 and winter,” he said.
The Delhi Police, before finally allowing entry to the farmers, had asked permission from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to convert the city’s stadiums into temporary jails in view of the farmers’ protest. However, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain had rejected their request, saying every Indian citizen has the constitutional right to peacefully protest for which they cannot be put in jails.
Related news | For Delhi police, mission ‘don’t let the farmers in’
Meanwhile, hundreds of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh on Friday started for the national capital in response to the “Delhi Chalo” call. The farmers reached the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Greater Noida in the afternoon, when they were stopped by the police. Shortly later, they left the Peripheral Expressway as it was announced that the protesters have been allowed to march to Delhi.
(With inputs from agencies)