A day after clashes broke out between protesting farmers and alleged locals at the Singhu border, a ‘no man’s land’ was created between the first barricade installed by police and the first stage set up by farmers which are over 2 km apart.
The entire area is heavily guarded by both police and farmers ensuring no ‘miscreants’ enter.
Four layers of checking by the police is in place during which they check for identity cards and only after being sure would they allow one to enter. In most cases, people who weren’t allowed entry were given an alternate route from inside the fields instead.
At the beginning of protest site, farmers — including those who had been injured during clashes on Friday — holding sticks guarded the periphery and also parked tractors as their own barricades tied with ropes.
Guarding entry points
“The police are doing their job and we are doing ours. We’ll ensure that no person with any wrong intention comes here. Our elders are guarding the entry points as they’ll get to know if someone disguises as a farmer,” said Kulvir Singh (38), of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, from Tarn Taran while nursing his fractured left hand.
Recalling Friday clashes, he said that he was serving langar when ‘locals’ entered, broke their tents and washing machines before throwing stones. At least 15 of them, including a senior citizen sustained severe injuries.
Farmers said that the ‘locals’ who had clashed with them on Friday came again on Saturday but were shooed away.
Injured farmers also alleged that security personnel weren’t letting in ambulances. “We had called for an ambulance around 9 a.m. and it hasn’t come till 12.30 p.m. This is inhumane,” said Prabhjit Singh (23) who has sustained an injury above his right eye. “I am alone here and my parents back home got worried but they told me to continue the struggle till we succeed”.
Farmers of the KMSC said that they’ll stand guard 24 hours in shifts.
Stage management committee at the Samyukt Kisan Morcha also said that they’ve stepped up vigil. “Over 800 volunteers on tractors and motorcycles are checking the site at night and we’ve ordered all the groups that we require 30 volunteers each from them every day,” said Amreek Singh, Bharat Kisan Union (Jalandhar) district pradhan, adding that they brought women residing at the KMSC side to their side and provided shelter and safety.
Devinder Singh (32) who had come from Chandigarh said that looking at a picture from Friday in which a police officer’s shoe was on a farmer’s face, he was reminded of George Floyd who was killed by a police officer in the U.S., leading to massive protests. “The whole of America got together to protest it. We should do similar,” he said.
A senior police officer said that they’ve been patient for the last two months but January 26 violence “was the limit”. “As of now, there will be no movement in the no-man’s ground — not of protesters and their sympathisers and not of any locals. This will be a security hold area,” he said.