Thousands of farmers from Haryana’s Ambala district began a protest march towards Delhi on Wednesday against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, The Hindu reported. The farmers were undeterred even as the Haryana Police set up road barricades and diversions on the highways to prevent them from reaching the national Capital as part of their “Delhi Chalo’’ march.
Bharatiya Kisan Union member Balkar Singh told the newspaper that the farmers started their march towards Delhi in tractors and trolleys from a food grains market near Ambala in the afternoon. He said the barriers put up by the police were broken and the farmers were scheduled to reach Rajiv Gandhi Education City in Sonipat around midnight before entering Delhi.
Singh added that the police used water cannons to stop the farmers from marching ahead. Massive jets of water were used by the police at Kurukshetra, nearly 90 km inside Haryana, ANI reported.
The police said farmers from Punjab will not be allowed to enter Haryana, adding that they’ve deployed water cannons and ambulances at the borders, PTI reported. On Tuesday, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said that the state borders with Punjab would remain sealed on November 26 and 27.
“Once movement of farmers takes place from Punjab side, the Haryana Police will act accordingly,” Ambala Range Inspector General Y Puran Kumar told reporters. “So far, the border has not been sealed, those instructions are for November 26-27. But if movement [of farmers] takes place before that, we will act accordingly.”
Meanwhile, farmers’ body Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Balbir Singh Rajewal said Khattar sealed the inter-state borders for farmers to prove that “Punjab is not part of India”, according to The Tribune. “We will peacefully block the routes to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir,” Rajewal said. “Will start dharna on the roads.”
The protesting farmers have threatened to block all roads to Delhi if authorities stop them during their march.
Speaking about their plan to crossover into Haryana, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU (Ugrahan), told The Indian Express, “From Khanauri side, 2,400 trolleys will cross Punjab border to enter Haryana, while 960 total buses have been arranged by us to enter from different borders. There are 15 water cantors, 22 vehicles just to take care of road traffic movement, generator, clothes, beddings etc all will be taken along. You never know, we might have to spend the whole winter on roads. We are ready to do so.”
Visuals from news agency ANI also showed the police deploying water cannons to disperse farmers who gathered on the Chandigarh-Delhi Highway.
Delhi Police reject request for farmers’ march
The Delhi Police on Wednesday reiterated that it has rejected all requests received from various farmers’ organisations to protest against the Centre’s farm laws.
“All the requests received from various farmer organisations regarding the protest in Delhi on 26 and 27 November have been rejected and this has already been communicated to the organisers,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) tweeted. “Please co-operate with Delhi Police in ensuring no gathering in Delhi amid coronavirus, failing which legal action will be initiated as per law.”
On Tuesday, the police had warned that they would take legal action against the farmers if they come to the city for any gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.