After over four hours of tug of war between the security forces comprising Delhi Police and the paramilitary on one side and the tens of thousands of farmers on the other side of the national capital periphery that saw water cannons gushing out chilled showers and several rounds of tear-gas shells, it appears to be a lunch-time truce, with farmers groups plopping down at the borders putting makeshift arrangements to prepare food as Delhi denies them entry.
A farmer said, “We want to reach Delhi, but we have been stopped by Police here (Singhu border). So we have sat here on protest and are preparing food for our friends who are in this protest with us.”
He said that we have food stock for more than a week with us, and more farmers are coming from Punjab with more food stock. “Once they join us here we are ready for sitting on protest for long period,” he said.
The farmer further said that they are only coming to Delhi to protest peacefully against the Agriculture Bills passed by government in September this year.
Several farmers groups sat on protest near the border and raised slogans against the government.
At the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border, the Delhi Police has put three layer barricades with barbed wires, followed by trucks to stop the agitating farmers marching towards Delhi, with several vehicles of water canons.
Besides the Delhi Police, hundreds of para military force personnel are also present at the Delhi-Haryana border to stop the farmers from entering Delhi.
In view of no permission from the Delhi Police to enter Delhi, the farmers brought out their stoves and started preparing food for themselves. Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states will wait it out, a protester said.
Even as it remained a contest of who blinks first the Centre or the farmers, Delhi Police remain fully prepared to stop the farmers from entering the national capital as part of their ‘Dilli Chalo’ programme against the controversial Agriculture Bills.
The Punjabi spirit of providing humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world has now been reflected in their onward march from Punjab to Delhi for a planned protest named ‘Delhi Chalo’ against new farm laws.
A protester was seen offering water to a security personnel en route to the national capital.
“This is what the Punjabi spirit is all about! From satiating India’s hunger to quenching the thirst of this security personnel — clearly, the farmers of Punjab only know how to give. So time to give something back to them?” tweeted Punjab Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral.
Bracing teargas and water cannons on the second day on Friday, another batch of hundreds of thousands of protesting farmers from interiors of Punjab breached the massive blockades comprising huge boulders, barbed fence and mounds of earth to enter Haryana for their protest against the farm laws.
Even as hundreds of farmers rallied at interstate borders to enter Delhi for their proposed protest against the three central agricultural laws, Delhi Police said it had decided to close Tikri and Singhu entry points.
The Delhi Traffic Police advised commuters to avoid roads and stretches on the Delhi- Haryana border due to crowds of farmers who were adamant on marching into Delhi. Hundreds of commuters have already been left stranded and stuck in traffic jams and snarls on these roads.
Earlier in the day, thousands of protesting farmers had gathered on the Delhi-Haryana borders, after which Delhi Police used tear-gas shells and water cannons to push them back.
“Tikri border is completely closed to traffic movement. Traffic intending to go towards Haryana is also closed. All motorists are advised to avoid this route in view of the protest by the farmers,” the Delhi Traffic Police advised.
Traffic was heavy on the carriageway from Peeragarhi towards Punjabi Bagh due to checking by police at Ordnance Depot. The Traffic Police requested motorists to avoid the stretch.
Heavy traffic congestion was also seen on the Delhi-Gurugram border as police along with paramilitary forces were deployed to check incoming vehicles.
“Obstruction in traffic on the carriageway from Gurgaon towards Dhaula Kuan due to checking by local police near Dhaula Kuan police chowki. Kindly avoid the stretch,” a senior Delhi Traffic Police officer said.
Police also advised people to avoid Outer Ring Road, Mukarba Chowk, GTK Road, NH-44 and Singhu border areas.
“Commuters are requested to avoid Mukarba Chowk since there is a traffic diversion and vehicles are not allowed to move towards the Singhu boarder. Interstate vehicles may take the Western/Eastern peripheral expressway,” the officer added.
Police was also checking vehicles at the DND e-way and National Highway-24 crossings adjoining Uttar Pradesh.
Around 500 organisations of farmers from various states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh etc had planned to hold protests in Delhi from November 26-27 to demand repeal of the farm laws.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) supporters and farmers in several districts of western Uttar Pradesh on Friday blocked highways in support of the protesting farmers from Haryana and Punjab.
The BKU activists and farmers blocked the Yamuna Expressway by squatting on the road which led to a massive traffic jam. A wedding procession was stuck in the jam for several hours.
The blockade prevented traffic movement from Agra to Mathura.
In Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Bijnor, farmers blocked the highways disrupting traffic flow at several places.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said, “Farmers in Uttar Pradesh are fully supporting their counterparts in Punjab and Haryana and our protests will continue.”
Farmers also made an attempt to block the traffic near Sultanpur but were dispersed by the police.
A heavy deployment of forces has been made across western Uttar Pradesh to prevent farmers and the BKU activists from marching towards Delhi. Dozens of protestors have been detained.
The government spokesman said that efforts were being made to clear the highways and restore traffic movement.
Hundreds of commuters faced traffic snarls on the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway as Delhi Police put up roadblocks at the interstate border to stop farmers from entering the national capital to hold their protest against the three central agricultural laws.
A large number of security personnel, including those from the central armed police forces, were deployed on the Delhi-Gurugram border.
Police of both Delhi and Gurugram had also put up barbed wires to stop protestors from proceeding towards the national capital. As strict scrutiny of those entering Delhi was undertaken at the roadblocks, the movement of traffic towards the national capital was slowed.
Though bumper-to-bumper traffic movement was witnessed on the National Highway-48, the situation was much better than Thursday’s traffic chaos.
Officials at the Gurugram traffic control room said that the movement of vehicles on the expressway was slow as the Delhi Police had put up barricades on the Delhi-Gurugram border and near the Rajokri flyover.
“We have made all arrangements to tackle the protest call given by farmers. Police will keep updating the people about the traffic situation in Gurugram through official social media handles,” Gurugram Police Commissioner KK Rao said.
“We have sealed seven entry/exit points in Gurugram to prevent farmers from moving towards Delhi. While regular traffic can pass, police checking is likely to slow it down or lead to jams. More than 1,000 policemen, including senior officers, have been deployed at the borders,” he said. (IANS)