Farmers reach near Delhi borders; face water cannons, tear gas
New Delhi/Chandigarh, November 27: A large group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana on Friday continued their 'Delhi Chalo' march against the Centre's farm laws from a road toll plaza at Panipat, about 100 km from the national capital.
The Delhi Police has enhanced deployment of tear gas, security personnel, stationed sand-laden trucks and water cannons and used barbed wire for fencing at the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) to prevent the protesters from entering the city. Police were also deployed on Delhi's border with Faridabad and Gurgaon.
Hundreds of farmers staged a dharna at Tikri border in Delhi and decided to wait for other farmers before entering the national capital.
The farmers accused the Delhi police of detaining protesters and deflating the tyres of their tractors.
A senior Delhi Police official said the forces have used tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers who had reached the Singhu border point which connects Delhi with Haryana.
The officer said the forces are using tear gas to disperse protesting farmers, but at the same time they are also 'informing them that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, any kind of rally and dharna is not allowed in the national capital.'
'The permission has been denied for any kind of dharna or protest in view of surge in COVID-19 infections in the city and whoever tries to enter Delhi the police is empowered to take legal action against such person,' said another police officer.
Security has been strengthened at the border and sand-laden trucks and water cannons have been stationed, the officer said, adding that barbed wire is also being used for fencing at the Singhu border to prevent the protesters from entering the national capital.
Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, have announced they will go to Delhi through several routes—Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa. Tensions appeared to have been escalating at all the border points.
Farmers have assembled near the borders in tractor-trolleys laden with rations and essentials for their proposed Delhi march. 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.
However, farmers' bodies have announced that they will hold a dharna wherever they are stopped from moving towards the national capital.
Punjab farmers are demanding the repeal of the new farm laws, which, they said, should be replaced with another set of legislations framed after wider consultation with the stakeholders. They also want a guarantee on the minimum support prices (MSP).
Despite the security arrangements, two groups of farmers reached near the Singhu and Tikri borders as Delhi Police fired tear gas shells at them to prevent them from entering the city. Police used water cannon and tear gas on farmers near Karahans village on NH-44, but the farmers managed to break the first barricade.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (Haryana) leader Gurnam Singh welcomed farmers from Punjab to Haryana and urged them to maintain peace and not attack the police. He asked them to follow the lead of farmers from Haryana.
In Jhajjar, Delhi police used tear gas shells and water cannon to stop the farmers at the Tikri border, adjacent to Bahadurgarh.
In Karnal, farmers from Punjab continued to march towards Delhi. They were marching on tractors and SUVs on the National Highway-44 and the Kaithal-Karnal roads. Police have erected fresh barricades near Karan Lake to stop the farmers. Farmers staged a dharna when Taraori police tried to stop them from moving ahead. However, after a brief faceoff, farmers were allowed to go ahead. The Taraori police were trying to divert them.
Karnal police have registered two FIRs -one against BKU president Gurnam Singh Charuni and another against unknown farmers of Punjab for breaking barricades in Karnal on Thursday.
BKU Ugrahan members have started preparations to start march for New Delhi from Khanauri border of Punjab-Haryana.
In Sangrur, preparations have started at the Khanauri border to start the march for New Delhi. BKU Ugraha members, in around 4,000 vehicles, will start the march in around two hours.
Farmers managed to enter Haryana by breaking the barricading at Dabwali border. The youth gathered near the barricading chanted 'jo bole so nihal' slogans. Farmers removed big cement pillar stones kept at tge Punjab side, removed the first layer of obstruction kept by police to keep farmers away from entering Haryana. Youths are carrying sticks in their hands with them at Dabwali border. A massive jam occurred at the Dabwali border as more than 6-7 km long convoy of trucks and tractors lined up as part of the march.—with PTI