Gunshots were fired in the air by unidentified men on Sunday night near the Delhi-Haryana state border in Singhu, where farmers have been protesting for months against the three agricultural laws.
Inspector Ravi, station house officer of Kundli police station, told Scroll.in that a fight erupted at 11 pm. “Some men were eating food at the langar [community kitchen] and then they fought,” he added. “They fired from the car and then ran away.”
The officer said a first information report has been filed under Indian Penal Code sections such as 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 506 (criminal intimidation). “No one has been caught yet,” Ravi said. “We are identifying the car. We do not know who they were.”
The development came a day after farmers blocked a major highway outside New Delhi to mark the 100th day of their agitation. Farmers held a blockade at five points on the 135-km-long Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway, connecting five districts of Haryana, on Saturday.
Farm law protests
Thousands of farmers have camped outside Delhi since December, demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. Farmers fear the policies will make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.
They have hunkered down with supplies that they say will last them for months, and have resolved to not leave until their demands are met. Many of them have died during the struggle, though the official count is not known.
Several rounds of talks between the government and farm leaders took place, but none of them could manage to end the deadlock. In January, the Supreme Court had suspended the implementation of the laws until further orders.
The movement poses one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took power in 2014, as he faces criticism from all sides, including from some allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Shiromani Akali Dal of Punjab quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre in September itself.
Another sign of impact was the Congress’ spectacular performance in the urban body polls held in Punjab last month.