Farmers at Singhu, Tikri borders stay put, most refuse to go to north Delhi protest site
Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre's new agri laws stayed put at the Singhu and Tikri border points for the third consecutive day on Saturday amid heavy police presence even after being offered a north Delhi ground to hold peaceful demonstrations.PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 28-11-2020 19:35 IST | Created: 28-11-2020 19:35 IST
Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre's new agri laws stayed put at the Singhu and Tikri border points for the third consecutive day on Saturday amid heavy police presence even after being offered a north Delhi ground to hold peaceful demonstrations. Farmers gathered at border points have decided to stay put on Saturday night as they have called a crucial meeting on Sunday to decide their next course of action.
"Today, we held a meeting and it was decided that we will stay put here (Singhu border). Tomorrow, there will be another meeting at 11 am and till then, we are at the Singhu border," Baljeet Singh Mahal, Jalandhar's unit president of Bhartiya Kisan Union Kadia, said. Numbers swelled at the Singhu border point as farmers gathered there were joined by more counterparts from Punjab and Haryana and they refused to move towards the Sant Nirankari Ground, one of the biggest in the national capital.
Protesting farmers also got support from their counterparts from Uttar Pradesh, who gathered at the Ghazipur border with their vehicles on Saturday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern range) Surender Singh Yadav, who took stock of security arrangements at the Singhu border, told reporters that around 600 to 700 farmers have so far reached the north Delhi ground.
Yadav said police and administration have made sufficient arrangements for the farmers at the designated protest site, adding that he hoped more would go there. On Saturday morning, protesting farmers from Punjab and Haryana gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, held a meeting to decide their next course of action.
A farmer leader said they would continue their protest there at the border. "We will not move from here (Singhu border) and continue our fight. We will not return home. Thousands of farmers have come from Punjab and Haryana to join the protest," he said.
Another farmer said they would sit at the border and not move to the Nirankari Ground. "We will not go to the new protest site, and we will continue our protest at the national highway," he said. On Friday, hundreds of farmers entered the national capital to hold a peaceful protest at the Sant Nirankari Ground after facing teargas and water cannons and clashing with security personnel while thousands remained at border points, undecided whether to go to the demonstration site identified by police.
The day witnessed police using teargas shells, water cannons and multi-layer barriers to block the protesters and the farmers pelting stones and breaking barricades in some places in their determination to push through as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' march against the Centre's new farm laws. However, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer organisations in Punjab, said they will not go to the Burari ground in Delhi. "We urge the Union government to give us a place at Jantar Mantar for the agitation. We will not go to the Burari ground at any cost," said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) senior vice-president Jhanda Singh Jethuke. Sukhwinder Singh, who has been camping at the Tikri border since Friday evening, said, "We will continue to protest here. We will not move from here. Several other farmers are yet to join us from Haryana. They are on their way. We won't move from here and will continue our fight from here." Asked why they don't want to enter the national capital despite being permitted by the Delhi Police, Singh said, "We don't want to go to any ground provided by them in Burari.
"We want to go to Jantar Mantar and hold a peaceful demonstration there. Meetings are being held, and until the next course of decision is taken, we will continue to protest here at the border peacefully," he added. The farmers at the Tikri border and Singhu border seem to have come prepared for a long haul. They have brought utensils to cook food and are charging their phones in their vehicles.
Meanwhile, traffic was affected on key roads in Delhi as police kept the Singhu and Tikri borders closed for vehicular movement in view of the ongoing farmers' agitation. The Delhi Traffic Police tweeted that traffic movement was not allowed from Azadpur and Outer Ring Road to the Singhu border.
"Tikri border is closed for traffic movement. Available open borders to Haryana are -- Jharoda, Dhansa, Daurala Jhatikara, Badusari, Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam vihar and Dundahera border," it posted on Twitter. The traffic police said the Singhu border was still closed from both the sides.
"We appeal to commuters to avoid travelling towards the Singhu and Tikri borders, Mukarba Chowk, NH-44, GT-Karnal Road and Outer Ring Road," Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Meenu Chaudhary said. Farmers protesting against the Centre's three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.
The Centre has invited several Punjab farmer organisations for another round of talks in Delhi on December 3..
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)