Thousands of farmers heading to Delhi in tractors and on foot for a protest braced for a confrontation this morning with security personnel posted by BJP-ruled Haryana, which has put up barricades to block them.
Farmers from six states – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab – are massing for a two-day “Delhi Chalo” protest march against new farm laws that they fear will take away their bargaining power and allow large retailers to have more control over prices.
The Delhi government has refused to allow any rally in the city, citing the coronavirus outbreak. Delhi’s borders at Gurugram and Faridabad have been sealed and metro services have been affected.
Meanwhile , the Haryana Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse a group of farmers from Punjab who allegedly tried to jump police barricades to enter Haryana as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s new farm laws.
Multi-level barricading has been put by Haryana Police to prevent the farmers from moving towards the national capital.
A farmer from Punjab present at the site told reporters, “It is condemnable that Haryana Police is using such measures to suppress an assembly of peaceful protesters. We are protesting in a peaceful manner, but they want to prevent us from using our democratic right to protest”.
Haryana: Farmers in large numbers gather near Karnal’s Karna Lake area, to proceed to Delhi to protest against farm laws pic.twitter.com/uYuMQtjcVn
— ANI (@ANI) November 26, 2020
Earlier on Wednesday, a large group of Haryana farmers near Mohra village in Ambala jumped over the barricades following which the police resorted to the use of water cannon against them.
A splinter group had, however, managed to proceed to Tiyora-Tiyori village on the Ambala-Kurukshetra border, where police again used water cannons to stop their march to Delhi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana had earlier said it will seal its borders with Punjab on November 26-27 in view of the farmers’ march to Delhi.
The Delhi Police had earlier asserted that it had rejected requests received from various farmer organisations to protest in the national capital against the Centre’s new farm laws on November 26 and 27. A day earlier, it had said that legal action would be taken against the protesting farmers if they come to the city for any gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.