Police fired water cannon and tear-gas shells to disperse thousands of farmers, affiliated to the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait group), who tried to break through barricades to enter the national capital on the Delhi-U.P. border at Ghazipur on Tuesday morning, even as hectic negotiations between BKU leaders and Central Ministers failed to end the stand-off.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 were issued and 3,000 police personnel deployed to ensure that the Kisan Kranti Yatra, which began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23, was prevented from entering Delhi.
Violence erupted as a section of the farmers tried to break through the barricades using tractor-trolleys. As clashes broke out, the police used tear-gas and water cannon. Seven policemen and several protesters were injured.
Seeking to convince the farmers to return, the government announced that a committee of Chief Ministers would look into their demands. Home Minister Rajnath Singh held discussions with Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and other Ministers, after which Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat met the protesters to assure them that their demands would be looked into.
BKU chief Naresh Tikait, however, said the farmers were “not satisfied” with the government’s assurance.
As night descended, the farmers remained on the National Highway, determined to complete their journey to Kisan Ghat. “We had set out to complete our journey in Delhi on October 2 and they [police] should have let us do it. They shouldn’t have used force and disrespected us. We will complete the journey,” Mr. Tikait told The Hindu.
(With PTI inputs)