Agriculture

Despite police action, farmers approaching Delhi for mega protest event November 26

Haryana seals its borders; farmers vow to protest wherever they are stopped

 
By Shagun Kapil
Published: Wednesday 25 November 2020
Despite police action, farmers approaching Delhi for mega protest event November 26. Photo: Official handle of CPI(M), Uttar Dinajpur District
A sea of red flags at the Delhi-Haryana border as farmers try to enter the national capital. Photo: Official handle of CPI(M), Uttar Dinajpur District A sea of red flags at the Delhi-Haryana border as farmers try to enter the national capital. Photo: Official handle of CPI(M), Uttar Dinajpur District

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were moving towards the national capital November 25, 2020, a day before their ‘Delhi Chalo’ (Onward to Delhi) agitation.

The march has been called to protest three farm bills passed in September that are perceived to be anti-farmer, in addition to a proposed Electricity Bill, 2020.

Around 200,000 farmers from across India are said to be approaching Delhi, according to a claim by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a platform of around 300 farmer groups.

Farmer leaders have said they plan to have an indefinite protest. However, much of what happens next will be decided after December 3.

That is the day on which the Centre has once again invited the heads of 32 farmers’ organisations from Punjab for talks.

The farmers affiliated to the 32 organisations are part of the United Farmers Front, an all-India body of over 470 farmer unions.

“We will hold the dharna at least till December 2. Farmers have started heading to Delhi in their tractors and trolleys with rations, bedding and fuel. We are getting support from all corners. Many doctors have agreed to set up medical camps,” Darshan Pal Singh, president, Kantikari Kisan Union, said.

Farmers from Punjab started to move towards Haryana from November 24 but were met with police action at the inter-state border, resulting in the detention of several farmer leaders. The farmers had eventually planned to go to Delhi.

Haryana police barricaded several areas November 25 and deployed water cannons to disperse farmers who had gathered at different locations to proceed to Delhi. Section 144 was also imposed on highways to prevent farmers’ assembly.

Farmer groups have said they will hold a dharna wherever they are stopped. For now, four locations have been selected for Punjab and Haryana farmers gathering November 26 morning before coming to Delhi.

These are National Highway 1 at the Kundli border post in Haryana, the Rohtak-Delhi Road near Sampla, the Jaipur-Delhi Highway in Bilaspur and Sector 12 in Faridabad. Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand farmers will be gathering at Hapur.

Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal faction) said the sealing of inter-state borders by the Haryana government was undemocratic.

“In the last two months of our protest, there has not been one single incident of violence. It is a historic struggle when lakhs of farmers have come together on an issue. We guarantee this is a peaceful protest demonstration. It is our right and it is undemocratic of the Centre and Haryana government to stop us from going to the national capital,” Rajewal said.

Delhi police has also denied permission to farmers from gathering at Jantar Mantar. However, Hannan Mollah, an AIKSCC working group member said around 100 farmers were permitted to gather.

Haryana police also issued a travel advisory November 24, asking commuters to avoid certain national highways along the state border with Punjab and Delhi for three days in the wake of the protest.

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