Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Chandigarh, November 27
After facing tear gas, water cannons and clashing with security personnel, hundreds of farmers entered the national capital on Friday to hold peaceful protest at a north Delhi ground, but there were still thousands at border points who were undecided to go to the identified demonstration site and a clarity in their decision is expected on Saturday.
Around 600 farmers protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws headed to Sant Nirankari Ground, one of the biggest in the national capital, following several hours of confrontation with the police at different border points with Haryana.
After a meeting between farmer leaders and senior police officers, the Delhi Police allowed protesters to hold demonstration peacefully at Nirankari Ground, but senior farmer leader Darshan Pal later said they would stay put at border points on Friday night and a decision on whether to go to the identified protest site or not will be taken on Saturday.
At the Tikri border, some groups of farmers were escorted by police personnel around 3 pm amid tight security and taken towards the identified protest site. But those gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, had not entered the city till late evening.
Carrying flags and shouting slogans, thousands of farmers gathered at various entry points into the national capital in a determined bid to push their way through as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march while police blocked them with barricades, tear gas shells and batons.
Earlier, more Punjab farmers crossed the state’s border with Haryana, some of them after facing water cannons and teargas as they headed towards Delhi to join thousands who had already reached the national capital’s borders.
But by evening, all Haryana Police barricades at the border with Punjab and along the highway to Delhi were lifted, allowing traffic to run as before.
Traffic on the highway to Delhi and other roads was restored, with the Haryana Police removing barricades meant to thwart the “Delhi Chalo” protest against the Centre’s new farm laws.
“The barriers which had been put up earlier have been lifted. Vehicular traffic is plying normally,” Karnal Range Inspector General of Police Bharti Arora told PTI over phone.
After braving water cannons and clashing with security personnel, thousands of farmers started entering the national capital on Friday from the Tikri border following permission by Delhi Police to hold peaceful protests at the city’s Burari ground.
Thousands of farmers gathered at various entry points into the national capital were allowed in on Friday to hold a peaceful protest at a north Delhi ground, defusing some of the tension building up since morning around the city’s edges and beyond.
The concession came after hours of a standoff that saw police using teargas shells, water cannons and multi-layer barriers to block the protesters and the farmers pelting stones and breaking barricades in some places in their determination to push through as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s new farm laws.
“After holding discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protest at Nirankari Ground in Burari. We appeal to all farmers to maintain peace,” said Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal.
At the Tikri border, farmers were escorted by police personnel amid tight security around 3 pm and taken towards the Nirankari Ground, one of the biggest in the city.
But those gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, had not entered the city till evening.
As the issue snowballed, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said no government in the world can stop farmers fighting the “battle of truth”.
In a tweet in Hindi, Gandhi said the prime minister should remember that whenever arrogance takes on truth, it gets defeated.
“The Modi government will have to agree to the demands of the farmers and take back the black laws. This is just the beginning!” he tweeted with the hashtag ‘IamWithFarmers’.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday welcomed the Union government’s decision allowing farmers to enter the national capital and hold peaceful agitation.
Earlier in the day, agitating farmers at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border had pelted stones and broke barricades as they clashed with Delhi Police which used tear gas shells to disperse them.
Police said farmers have been allowed to hold peaceful protest at the Nirankari Ground in north Delhi.
“I welcome the Centre’s decision to allow farmers to enter Delhi to exercise their democratic right to protest. They should also now initiate immediate talks to address farmers’ concerns on the #FarmLaws and resolve the simmering issue,” Amarinder Singh said in a tweet.
Punjab farmers’ bodies claimed that the Union Government has allowed them entry into Delhi with a permission to hold their agitation at the Burari ground.
Farm union leader Jagmohan Singh confirmed that farmers from 30 unions have reached near Delhi.
“Delhi police have given us an offer of holding a dharna at Burari Maidan in Delhi, but we will discuss this will all the unions,” he added.
BKU Ekta Ugrahan leader Shingara Singh Mann, who had entered Haryana from Dabwali, along with a farmers’ convey, has crossed Sirsa as of now.
“Haryana police has not stopped us anywhere. Although there were hurdles on the highway, they have been removed by the farmers. We are moving ahead to Delhi. We have got information that Delhi police is planning to open borders for farmers and is offering them protest site in Delhi.”
Delhi police removed barricades from the Tikri border and allowed protesting farmers to enter the national capital.
Face-off between farmers, police near Delhi border
Despite heavy security deployment, groups of agitating farmers from Punjab and Haryana reached near two Delhi borders on Friday morning after breaking police barricades on the way as part of their protest march against the Centre’s new farm laws.
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 the border points, the 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 to 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.
A faceoff occurred between farmers and police at the Singhu border near Kundli as the agitating farmers who want to move towards Delhi resorted to stone-pelting and the police used tear shells to disperse them.
The Delhi Police used tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers who had reached the Singhu border, while at the Tigri border security personnel used water cannons to disperse farmers trying to enter the national capital.
Plumes of smoke were seen as security personnel used multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse the protesting farmers at the Singhu border.
At the Tigri border, farmers clashed with police and also tried to remove a truck, which was placed as a barricade, by tying it to a tractor with the help of a chain.
Multi-layer barricading was in place at the Singhu border — a direct route from Punjab to Delhi — to prevent farmers from entering the national capital.
Drones are also being used by security personnel to keep a strict vigil on the movement of protestors in bordering areas.
Hundreds of farmers staged a dharna at Tikri border in Delhi and decided to wait for other farmers before entering the national capital.
Breaking: About 3000 vehicles with thousands of farmers have crossed Sapla and are heading towards Tikriwal Delhi Boarder.
— All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (@aikscc) November 27, 2020
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).
AIKSCC and Sanyukt Kisan Morcha has sent a letter to the Commissioner of Police Delhi and requesting him to let farmers enter Delhi and protest peacefully in the capital.
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.
A 45-year-old farmer died while two others were injured when a truck hit their tractor-trolley near Mudhal village in Bhiwani en route the “Delhi Chalo” agitation.
Massive traffic chaos gripped the expressway in Gurugram on the second consecutive day owing to the heavy barricading of Delhi Gurugram-Sirahul border. A jam of about one hour threw traffic out of gear as vehicles stood lines up at borders were allowed entry only after thorough checks in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest of the farmer outfits.
Gururgam police had deployed 900 personnel on 13 borders connecting city to Delhi, Nuh, Rajasthan, Rewari, Sohna and Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway.
In all over 125 barricades have been put around borders which is leaving congestion with Sirhaul being the worst hit. The congestion not only left commuters to Delhi harried but also those headed to or back from Rajasthan.
What added to woes of the public is the suspension of metro services and public transport services to Delhi.
“There is traffic congestion but we are trying to maintain peace and keep city unaffected from the protest march. We had and are still appealing to people no to head to Delhi till urgent,” said CP KK Rao.
In Ambala, farmers removed the police barricades and threw them into the Ghaggar river passing beneath the bridge on which they are having a face-off with the Haryana police and RAF, who are equipped with riot-control gadgets.
Indiscriminate use of water cannons and tear gas shells failed to deter the protesters, who are renting the air slogans against the Centre and Haryana government while waving black and red flags.
In Jhajjar, Delhi police used tear gas shells and water cannon to stop the farmers at the Tikri border, adjacent to Bahadurgarh.
A march of Punjab farmers reached the Haryana-Punjab border at Shambhu. Braving water cannons and tear gas shells, thousands of protesters are adamant to break open the police barricades for gaining entry to Haryana for continuing their ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement.
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.
Farmers today threw away triple-layered barricading and huge cement pillar stones deployed by Haryana police at the Dabwali border to stop them.
A 6-7 km long convoy of tractors and trucks entered Haryana through Dabwali town in Sirsa district as Haryana police personnel remained mute spectators and did not restrict the entry of farmers. Even though water cannons were deployed at the spot, seeing farmers in such a large number, police did not use it.
Apart from this, farmers in even private cars were also seen joining the protest and heading for Delhi Chalo protest from here. Many teachers have also joined the protest.
A youth with a stick also climbed atop a water cannon of the Haryana police and tried to damage it as well at Dabwali border.
A large number of youths in broke the barricades within a few minutes and entered the Sirsa district amid slogans of “BKU Ekta Ugrahan zindabad” and “Jo Bole So Nihal”. The youth were also seen wearing the t-shirts with a photo of Bhagat Singh.