Farmers continue 'Delhi Chalo' protest, braving teargas, water cannons
Farmers from Punjab braved water cannons and teargas shells as they continued their march toward Delhi in protest against the three contentious agricultural laws passed by the Centre in September. The protesting farmers had crossed the neighboring Haryana border on Thursday after clashing with the Haryana Police. They will proceed toward Delhi on Friday, the second day of their 'Dilli Chalo' protest.
Police dug up roads, placed barricades in Sonipat
In Sonipat, the Haryana Police used water cannons at a group of roughly 200 farmers even as the mercury dipped on Friday night, according to NDTV. Reportedly, the police in riot gear were stationed behind barricades and a trench, formed by digging up the road. The protesters said the bigger challenge is to get the central government to repeal the three farm laws.
Farmers at Panipat prepared with 'six months' ration'
The protesters at Sonipat are among the thousands that had managed to breach Haryana's sealed border. A group managed to reach Bahadurgarh, while another stationed at Panipat, ANI reported Adamant to proceed toward Delhi, Amandeep—a farmer protesting at Panipat—said they are prepared to camp and continue their protest. Amandeep's group had six months' ration and access to supplies from gurdwaras, he said.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee prepares for Delhi rally
Members of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee prepare in Amritsar have also stocked up on essentials and will proceed for their tractor rally toward Delhi. Protesting farmers at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border said they will continue their peaceful protest.
What are the contentious farm laws?
The controversial laws are: The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. The three bills were passed by the Parliament and received Presidential assent in September, despite continued protests by farmers and the Opposition.
What are the concerns with the bills?
While the government has said the laws would free farmers from the clutches of middlemen, the community fears the government would stop the system of buying grain at guaranteed prices. This would leave them at the mercy of big corporates. Amandeep told ANI, "The main demand is that they should listen to us. They've brought farm laws and still, they're not hearing us."
Security heightened at inter-state borders
According to ANI, heavy security has been deployed at the Rohtak-Jhajjar border, Delhi-Gurugram, and Delhi-Jammu highway near Karna Lake in Karnal. The Delhi-Jammu highway has notably witnessed heavy traffic jams due to the protest since Thursday. Forces from at least two police stations, besides three Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalions, have been deployed at the Delhi-Faridabad border.