Delhi is bracing for angry farmers to storm into the national capital for staging protests against the Centre’s farm laws, as the police are actively conducting checks at border areas, screening vehicles and passengers, to ensure no farmers could penetrate the security blanket.
The farmers, who’ve been protesting for the past couple of months and blocking rail routes in Punjab, on their way to the capital faced a brutal attempt of suppression at Shambhu border (200 km from Delhi) between Haryana and Punjab with Haryana police resorting to firing water cannons and tear gas shells. This, however, went in vain as the angry farmers tossed the barricades in the river and managed their way into Haryana, continuing with their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march.
#WATCH Haryana: Police use water cannons & tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers headed to Delhi as they tried to break through police barricades at Sadopur border in Ambala pic.twitter.com/M22Wi6rblE
— ANI (@ANI) November 26, 2020
Delhi Police have deployed heavy security at border areas and are using drones for surveillance. Five sand-laden trucks have been stationed at the Singhu border to stop tractors being driven by the protesters. Police have threatened to arrest the protesters under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC and the epidemic act, if they do not relent.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that activist Yogendra Yadav has been detained along with 50 farmers near the Gurugram border for trying to cross over to Delhi.
While clarifying that the borders have not been sealed, officials said all pickets have been made active, while all vehicles entering the national capital were being checked. Officials said it was decided, Delhi Metro trains connecting the neighbouring cities in the NCR would not cross the national capital border till 2 pm on Thursday.
Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava, who visited the bordering areas, said if there’s any attempt for gathering in the capital, the police will not let them enter the city. “We are also in contact with Punjab and Haryana Police,” said Mr. Shrivastava.
Meanwhile, the checking exercise in view of the protest has resulted in traffic congestion at the Delhi-Gurugram border. Asked about commuters facing inconvenience, the Delhi Police chief said, “Since they (farmers) have already blocked the national highway, there’re going to be some problems, but we will try to sort it out as soon as possible… Instead of coming to the national capital, they (farmers) should go back and do not break any guideline.”
On Wednesday, Delhi Police said it had rejected requests from various farmer organisations to protest in the national capital on November 26 and 27. A day earlier, it had said legal action would be taken against the protesting farmers if they come to the city for any gathering amid the pandemic.
Punjab farmers are demanding the repeal of the new farm laws and their replacement with another set of laws framed after wider consultation with stakeholders. They also want a guarantee on the minimum support prices (MSP). They’re marching forward with tractor trolleys laden with rations and essentials, prepared for a long haul. They’d earlier said they will hold dharna wherever they’re stopped from moving towards Delhi.