Farmers' Nationwide 'Chakka Jam': Cops detain protesters in Pune, Bengaluru
The nationwide chakka jam by farmers protesting the three contentious farm laws began at 12:00pm on Saturday as protesters blocked state and national highways across India. Cops have detained protesters at some places, including Pune and Bengaluru, to avoid any untoward incidents. However, farm unions earlier said only peaceful protests will be held on the highways, excluding Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Here's more.
Protests on highways will be totally peaceful, non-violent: Farmers
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers protesting the farm laws, earlier said that farmers across India will observe a three-hour chakka jam, from 12:00pm to 3:00pm on Saturday. Also, it said the protests on state and national highways will be "totally peaceful and non-violent," and added that Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand will be excluded from the chakka jam.
SKM issued strict guidelines to ensure peaceful protest
Earlier, the SKM issued a set of strict guidelines to ensure a "completely peaceful and non-violent" chakka jam across India. Further, it even appealed to the protesting farmers to not indulge in any kind of conflict with the government authorities and other citizens. It also added that emergency and essential services, including ambulances and school buses, will not be affected during the chakka jam.
'There will be no roadblock program inside Delhi'
Earlier, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, said, "We have decided to not block roads in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. There will be no roadblock program inside Delhi." But he further said one lakh farmers are "on standby as they can be called to the national capital any time." He also claimed they had evidence that some people may spread violence at certain places.
More than 60 agitators detained in Bengaluru's Yelahanka
Reportedly, more than 60 protesters, who were agitating outside Bengaluru's Yelahanka Police station, as part of the farmers' chakka jam protests were detained by the police. "We have made thorough arrangements. We expect more protestors and we are prepared. It's peaceful so far," said CK Baba, DCP North East, Bengaluru. Meanwhile, several protesting farmers were also detained by the cops in Maharashtra's Pune.
50 people detained by Delhi Police at Shaheedi Park
Reports also said about 50 people were detained by the Delhi Police in Central Delhi's Shaheedi Park near the Income Tax Office (ITO) area for holding a protest in support of the chakka jam. Protesters claimed the police have detained them wrongfully as their protest was peaceful. However, the cops reportedly had not granted them permission to hold any protest at Shaheedi Park.
Delhi authorities step up security to prevent Republic Day-like incident
Though farmers said there will be no roadblocks in Delhi, authorities have taken a slew of measures to prevent Republic Day-like violence. More than 50,000 Delhi Police and paramilitary forces personnel and drone-cameras were deployed in and around Delhi-NCR. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) ordered the closure of several metro stations, including Mandi House, ITO, Delhi Gate, and Khan Market, ahead of chakka jam.
Arrangements strengthened to avoid law and order situation: Police official
"The arrangements have been strengthened since January 26 to avoid any law and order situation," said Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP), Delhi Police. "We are hoping that it will be a peaceful situation. Drones have been arranged for an aerial view, CCTV cameras have been installed in sensitive areas," the senior police official added.
Unprecedented violence, chaos ensued in national capital on January 26
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, among other states, have been protesting at different borders of Delhi since November. On Republic Day, during their tractor rally, however, protesters broke barricades and went off designated routes, turning the rally violent. Delhi witnessed unprecedented violence and chaos as protesters attacked cops, broke into the Red Fort, and even hoisted Sikh flags there.
Farmers demanding repeal of three farm laws passed in September
The three farm laws that the farmers are opposing include the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Their demands include repealing these laws and ensuring that minimum support price (MSP) for their crops is legally guaranteed, among others.