June 22, 2024

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1,200 Tractors to Join Renewed Farmer Protest March, Delhi Tightens Security

1,200 Tractors to Join Renewed Farmer Protest March, Delhi Tightens Security

Farmers are preparing to restart their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march from the Punjab-Haryana border today after talks with the Centre regarding minimum support price (MSP) guarantees failed.

Haryana Police have urged their Punjab counterparts to seize equipment brought by protesters to dismantle police barricades.

Approximately 14,000 farmers have gathered along the border, accompanied by 1,200 tractor trolleys, 300 cars, and 10 mini-buses. Delhi Police are on high alert, conducting drills to secure entry points as farmers, halted at the interstate border since February 13, prepare to advance towards the national capital.

Tensions are high as authorities in Haryana have requested Punjab to seize heavy machinery brought by farmers to remove barricades.

Ahead of resuming their protest, Kisan Mazdoor Morcha leader Sarwan Singh Pandher reiterated the farmers’ commitment to peaceful demonstration, 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, discussed every point, 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:

  • Approximately 14,000 farmers have assembled at Shambhu on the Punjab-Haryana border, according to government estimates reported by PTI.
  • They are utilising 1,200 tractor trolleys, 300 cars, and 10 mini-buses to travel to Delhi. Additionally, the Home Ministry estimates that 4,500 protesters with 500 tractors have gathered at the Dhabi-Gujran border point.
  • In a letter to the Punjab government, the Ministry of Home Affairs expressed concern over the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state, attributing it to miscreants posing as farmers.
  • These individuals have engaged in stone-pelting and brought 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 at the Shambhu border have been “modified and armour-plated” to tear down police barricades. This poses a serious danger to the police and paramilitary forces deployed on duty and could compromise security in Haryana. Officials anticipate traffic congestion around Delhi’s three border points on Wednesday due to road closures. Tikri and Singhu, two points on the Delhi-Haryana border, are sealed with heavy police deployment and multiple layers of barricades and iron nails. If necessary, the Ghazipur border may also be closed on Wednesday.

On the eve of the protest’s resumption, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher called for the Centre to convene a day-long Parliament session to enact legislation guaranteeing MSP for crops. “We demand that a law to guarantee MSP be enacted. 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 Haryana villages to halt their march.

On Tuesday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Punjab government not to allow farmers to gather in large numbers. The court noted that tractor-trolleys cannot be operated on highways according to the Motor Vehicles Act and suggested that farmers use buses or public transport to travel to Delhi. 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.

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