Vibha Sharma, Geetanjali Gayatri & Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Sonepat, January 25
Thousands of farmers on tractors are all set to enter the Capital on Republic Day, even as Sanyukta Kisan Morcha leader Darshan Pal on Monday announced a ‘padayatra’ to Parliament on February 1, the day the government tables the Union Budget in the House.
EDIT: Tanks and tractors
1.2L tractors for rally
The stage is set for the tractor rally with farmer leaders claiming around 1.25 lakh tractors will enter Delhi on Tuesday
3 farmers die at Tikri
Three farmers — two from Haryana and one from Punjab — died of cardiac arrest at Tikri
Security up in Punjab, Haryana
Additional forces deployed in Pb, Hry districts bordering Delhi. Bomb disposal squad on standby
6K cops, 20 drones, sharpshooters at Rajpath
- Multi-layered security, intel inputs on possible bid by “extremists” to create trouble
- 6,000 police personnel, 20 drones deployed at Rajpath and 3 tractor rally routes
- Those trying to deviate from routes to be dealt with sternly; eye on rogue elements
- Security beefed up across the national Capital; sharpshooters and snipers atop high-rise buildings, keeping watch on 8-km-long route
- Thousands of security personnel deployed at Delhi borders
Heavy security has been deployed in view of the unprecedented tractor parade that will move into Delhi from three border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh). The farm unions have been protesting against the recent farm laws since two months.
“We will march to Parliament on foot from different locations on the Budget day. Tomorrow’s tractor rally will give the government an idea of our strength and they will know the agitation is not just limited to Haryana or Punjab,” a confident Darshan Pal told the media, adding that every protest would be peaceful.
With the Opposition gearing up to corner the Modi government on the farmers’ issues, the Budget session is expected to be a stormy one. Sources said the government was “apprehensive” of the agitation gaining more strength after the R-Day rally. Already, there have been protests in Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Karnataka, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura and J&K. In Mumbai, thousands of farmers, who have gathered at Azad Maidan, plan to hoist the Tricolour and submit a memorandum to the Governor tomorrow.
There was a massive traffic jam on NH-44 today as farmers riding tractors made their way to Singhu and Tikri to participate in the R-Day tractor parade. With entry points to the KMP expressway choked, many of them were forced to walk to the protest sites. It was complete chaos beyond Rai.
The protesting farmers occupied the entire 13-km stretch from the Singhu border up to Bahalgarh. There was a sea of tractor-trailers. Other vehicles were parked bumper-to-bumper. Volunteers carrying loudspeakers lent help to the cops in clearing the way. Tractors, jeeps, SUVs and even JCBs sporting the Triclour kept arriving in Singhu incessantly.
At Tikri, volunteers were seen giving the finishing touches to a tableaux to be put on display at the farmer’s rally tomorrow. Sukhdev Singh, president, Majha Kisan Sangharsh Committee, said the government’s initial reluctance to let farmers hold the march had resulted in a bigger buildup.