Cement barricades, iron nails, heavy police deployment – this is how authorities in Haryana are preparing to block farmers who are planning to march to Delhi on Tuesday to press the Centre to accept their various demands. Route diversions and a seven-tier security cordon are also a part of the elaborate arrangements.
A video that is being widely shared on social media shows a man drilling iron nails into the road.
All the borders of Haryana with Punjab have been sealed with huge cement barricades and barbed wires. Section 144 has been imposed in many districts of Haryana and CRPF and other security agencies have also been deployed along with the police force.
The arrangements serve as a deja vu moment – another massive farmers’ march in 2020.
In 2020, a large number of farmers from Punjab and nearby areas of Ambala gathered at the Shambhu border and broke police barriers to march towards Delhi. The farmers held a year-long protest on Delhi’s border points against the three now-repealed farm laws.
Earlier in the day, the Haryana-Punjab border at Shambhu was closed for vehicular movement towards Ambala and Delhi. It even led to a massive traffic jam inconveniencing commuters travelling towards Ambala.
The Ghaggar river bed has also been dug up to prevent farmers from reaching the highway through tractors, said officials.
The Haryana government has also ordered the suspension of mobile internet services and bulk SMS in seven districts – Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa – ahead of the farmers’ proposed march.
This comes even as the farmers are readying their tractor trolleys to participate in the march. In Rajpura, farmers took out a tractor march as part of their preparations to head towards Delhi.
More than 200 farmer unions are expected to begin the march on February 13 over several demands, including the enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.
A three-member team of Union ministers on Thursday held a detailed discussion with the leaders of farmer organisations.
The farmer leaders had said the Central ministers assured them that they would hold a second round of the meeting soon but they had also stated that their proposed ‘Delhi Chalo’ march stands. The ministers, meanwhile, have invited the farm union leaders for a meeting a day before the march – on March 12 – in Chandigarh
The farmers are also demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases and “justice” for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.