Mukesh Ranjan & Sukhmeet Bhasin
Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Bathinda, January 24
The Delhi Police on Sunday said they had taken an in-principle decision to allow farmers to hold a tractor parade in the national Capital on January 26.
Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Dependra Pathak said: “The rally will be conducted amid tight security after the Republic Day parade is over. We have received intelligence inputs hinting at disturbance of the peaceful protest.” He said the parade would enter Delhi from Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders and return to its originating points.
Noting that the limit to the number of tractors will be finalised soon, Pathak said: “We trust the farmers that they will not camp in the Capital.” Barricades and other security arrangements will be removed on January 26, the police said. Meanwhile, the Malwa hinterland is witnessing great enthusiasm for the tractor parade.
Sporting Tricolour, flags of farmers’ unions and posters with anti-government slogans written on them, tractor-trailers in long and colourful cavalcades can be seen leaving for Delhi.
Several organisations are distributing essentials like ration, mattresses and quilts among the participants. Residents of Faridkot Kotli village have provided fibre sheets to protect the protesting farmers from water cannons, cane and rubber bullets in case of any action by the police.
To prepare themselves for the long journey, villagers have trained women to drive tractors, modified vehicles with increased engine capacity and stocked diesel, spare parts and tools among other things.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), said: “The event is going to be huge. More than 40,000 tractor-trailers have left for Delhi from Khanouri in Sangrur and Dabwali border in Bathinda in the last two days.”
Panchayats of some villages have issued a diktat to residents to ensure participation of at least one family member or pay fine.
Villagers are also making announcements from gurdwaras, encouraging people to come out in large numbers.