Farmers to resume protest march today with 1,200 tractors, Delhi on alert

Farmers are set to resume their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march from the Punjab-Haryana border today, following the failure of talks with the Centre over minimum support price (MSP) guarantees.

Haryana Police have urged Punjab counterparts to seize equipment brought by protesters to dismantle police barricades. Approximately 14,000 farmers have gathered along the border, with 1,200 tractor trolleys, 300 cars, and 10 mini-buses.

Delhi Police are on alert, conducting drills to secure entry points as farmers, stopped at the interstate border since February 13, gear up to advance towards the national capital.

Ahead of the resumption of their protest, Kisan Mazdoor Morcha leader Sarwan Singh Pandher reiterated that the farmers would demonstrate peacefully, appealing to the government to remove barricades and allow them to proceed to Delhi unimpeded.

“We tried our best from our side. We attended the meetings, every point was discussed, and now the decision has to be taken by the central government. We will remain peaceful… We should be allowed to remove these barriers and march towards Delhi,” Pandher said.

Here are the latest developments in the farmers’ protest:

  • Around 14,000 farmers have assembled at Shambhu on the Punjab-Haryana border, as per government estimates reported by PTI. Farmers are utilising 1,200 tractor trolleys, 300 cars, and 10 mini-buses to make their way to Delhi.

    Additionally, the Home Ministry estimates that 4,500 protesters with 500 tractors were gathered at the Dhabi-Gujran border point.

  • In a letter to the Punjab government, the Ministry of Home Affairs has expressed concern over the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state, attributing it to miscreants posing as farmers. It said that these “miscreants” have engaged in stone-pelting and brought along heavy machinery, like bulldozers and earthmovers, to the Shambhu border with Haryana.

  • The letter further stated that the bulldozers and other equipment brought by the farmers camping at Shambhu border have been “modified and armour-plated” to tear down the police barricading. “These machines are meant to be used by the protesters to damage the barricades thereby posing serious danger to the police and paramilitary forces deployed on duty and is likely to compromise the security scenario in Haryana,” it said.

  • Officials said areas around Delhi’s three border points might witness traffic congestion on Wednesday due to road closures. Tikri and Singhu — two points on the Delhi-Haryana border — are sealed with heavy deployment of police personnel and multiple layers of concrete barricades and iron nails. If required, the Ghazipur border might also be shut on Wednesday, an official said.

  • On the eve of resumption of the protest, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said the Centre should convene a day-long Parliament session to bring a legislation on the MSP for crops. “We demand that a law to guarantee the MSP be brought. If the prime minister has the willpower, a day-long session of Parliament can be convened. No opposition party will oppose it.”

  • Pandher further claimed that paramilitary personnel have been deployed in villages in Haryana to halt their march.

    “The country will not forgive such a government…There are paramilitary forces deployed in the villages of Haryana…What crime have we committed?…We have made you the Prime Minister. We never thought that the forces would oppress us this way…Please protect the Constitution and let us peacefully head towards Delhi. This is our right,” he said.

  • On Tuesday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the Punjab government not to allow the farmers to gather in large numbers. The court observed that tractor-trolleys cannot be run on highways according to the Motor Vehicles Act and said the farmers can go to Delhi by bus or using public transport.

  • The ‘Delhi Chalo’ march is set to resume after farmers rejected the Centre’s proposal for government agencies to procure pulses, maize, and cotton at MSP for five years. Deeming it against farmers’ interests, they declared their intention to march towards the national capital today.

Published By:

Devika Bhattacharya

Published On:

Feb 21, 2024

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