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Dilli Chalo | Stopped from going to Delhi, farmers block Jaipur highway

More farmers joined the ongoing protest at Singhu border in New Delhi on December 13, 2020.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Hundreds of farmers from Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and several other States, including Maharashtra and Gujarat, staged a sit-in on the the Delhi-Jaipur Highway blocking the carriageway towards the national Capital after they were stopped by the Haryana Police at the border with Rajasthan on December 13.

Led by Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Medha Patkar and Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav, among others, the farmers were headed to Delhi under the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a joint front of farmer unions.

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With the Delhi-Jaipur Highway also now blocked, all highways leading to the national capital from Haryana now have farmers on dharna seeking a repeal of the three recent farm laws.

Later in the evening, Gurnam Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni), at a press conference at the Singhu border, announced that leaders of all the agitating groups would sit on a day-long hunger strike on December 14 wherever they were protesting.

Mr. Singh said some farmer groups had announced their support to the new farm laws, but they were not associated with them.

Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Medha Patkar, Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav among the leaders leading the farmers protest march against anti farm laws at Rajasthan-Haryana Border on Delhi-Jaipur Highway, in Haryana on Sunday.

Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Medha Patkar, Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav among the leaders leading the farmers protest march against anti farm laws at Rajasthan-Haryana Border on Delhi-Jaipur Highway, in Haryana on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

“They are hand-in-glove with the government in an attempt to sabotage our movement. We are against the laws and will continue to protest until these laws are repealed,” said Mr. Singh.

Addressing the press conference at the Singhu border, Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait) said farmers need to stay alert and ensure that no unwanted or wrong elements get involved in the agitation.

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“If the Centre government wants to talk and there’s any proposal for talks we will constitute a committee, which will take a decision on it,” he said.

Addressing the demonstrators at the Haryana-Rajasthan border, Ms. Patkar asked the government why Minimum Support Price could not be guaranteed to the farmers under the law. She said after the rise in prices for fertilisers and seeds, the farmers would be now be burdened by increase in power tariff under the proposed law on electricity and completely ruined.

The Delhi-Jaipur Highway with traffic stopped on both carriageways at Rajasthan-Haryana border, on December 13, 2020.

The Delhi-Jaipur Highway with traffic stopped on both carriageways at Rajasthan-Haryana border, on December 13, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Ashok Kumar

“The farmer is not lazy, the farmer is not poor. He is rich. But there is an attack on his resources and livelihood by the big corporates. These three laws will also jeopardise food security for the common man. Therefore, the government must withdraw the law that permits hoarding,” said Ms. Patkar, amid slogans and loud cheers.

All-India Kisan Sabha, general-secretary, Hannan Mollah said the farmer unions were not left with any choice but to intensify the stir after the government refused to agree to their demand to repeal the three laws.

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“The three black laws are anti-farmer and mere amendments won’t make them pro-farmer,” said Mr. Mollah.

Mr. Yadav said the farmers did not want to block the highway and were headed towards Delhi, but the Haryana Police had stopped them and forced the blockade. He said the Haryana government had shut all its borders and was “scared” of the farmers.

A farmers group protest at Delhi-Jaipur Highway near Rewari, Rajasthan-Haryana border on December 13, 2020.

A farmers group protest at Delhi-Jaipur Highway near Rewari, Rajasthan-Haryana border on December 13, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Ashok Kumar

Around 600 police personnel, including a company of Rapid Action Force, were deployed by the Rewari Police to stop the farmers from marching towards Delhi. The police put multiple layers of barricades and boulders to block both carriageways of the highway when the farmers reached the border in the afternoon leading to long traffic snarls. Vajra, a riot control vehicle, and two vehicles equipped with water cannons and tear gas shot guns each were also part of the squad.

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Though the traffic towards Jaipur was allowed an hour later, the traffic headed to Delhi from Jaipur has been diverted by the Rajasthan Police at several points.

(With inputs from Vikas Vasudeva in Chandigarh)

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:35:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-protest-police-step-up-vigil-on-delhi-haryana-border-points/article33319039.ece

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