Farmers during their protest against the farm laws at the Ghazipur border in New Delhi.
Huge security arrangements were made at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur on Thursday evening as farmers protesting against the Centre's contentious farm laws remained locked in a face-off with the police. Uttar Pradesh decided to take action two days after the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally. The local administration had asked the farmers to end their protest and vacate the road by Thursday night. But the farmers have refused to budge, with their leader Rakesh Tikait declaring that he is "ready to face bullets" if needed. The key Delhi-UP border has been closed, with the Delhi Traffic Police asking commuters to take alternate routes this morning. The other two key borders -- Tikri and the epicenter of farmers' protests, Singhu -- have also been placed under heavy security. The police have dug up roads, using JCB machines.
Here are the top 10 points in this big story:
Post a comment
Late in the evening, more security personnel were deployed at the Ghazipur border. Three companies of CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces), six companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary and 1000 police personnel were deployed at the border."The Supreme Court has justified the peaceful sit-in," Rakesh Tikait told reporters. "There has been no violence on the Ghazipur border. Despite this, the government is adopting a repressive policy. It is the face of the Uttar Pradesh government," he added.
The administration had cut off power and water supply to the hundreds of farmers, who have been camping out on the roads. Power and water suppy was restored this morning. The Ghazipur border had been sealed since the farmers started their "Delhi Chalo" protest on November 26. On Tuesday, the farmers had broken barricades and taken out their tractor rally.
A huge security build-up has started at the Delhi-Haryana border at Singhu -- seen as an indication of action. But despite the huge police presence, tension rose as a group of 100 people, who claimed to belong to a right wing group, managed to get past the security cordon and demanded that the farmers be evicted.
"The government's efforts to discredit the ongoing farmers' movement are continuing. The nervousness of the government is evident from how it is installing security forces on all borders. The government wants to show this movement as 'violent' again and again, but the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has a unanimous approach to ensure that the movement will remain peaceful," farmers' group Samyukta Kisan Morcha said in a statement.
In several protest sites of Uttar Pradesh, farmers have been told to go. On Wednesday night, the Baghpat administration got a protest site vacated in the district, but denied using force. "The elderly people, including a mentally unsound person, were sent to their homes," said Baghpat Additional District Magistrate Amit Kumar Singh.
The Baghpat administration said it got the area vacated after receiving a request from the National Highways Authority of India, over its pending construction work. In smaller protest sites at Mathura and Fatehpur, protesters were told to go as well.
In neighbouring Haryana -- another BJP-ruled state -- farmers who had been protesting for nearly two months in Karnal, were told to leave. The locals gave them a 24-hour ultimatum, saying they were facing inconvenience because of the protests. The Haryana Police has also been trying to get control of highway toll plazas, which had been over-run by the farmers.
Listing the damages at the Red Fort, which was over-run with protesrs on Tuesday, Union culture minister Prahlad Patel said, "The biggest loss is at the most high security area, where the Prime Minister unfurls the national flag, where some structures on a minar are missing". Three finials or curved structures on a gable were missing; one was found later.
The farmers have said the violence on Republic Day was the result of a conspiracy to malign them. The government, they said, was trying to "break" their peaceful protest. Rakesh Tikait has demanded a judicial inquiry into the events at the Red Fort. The Delhi Police have filed more than 25 cases over Tuesday's violence, 19 people have been arrested.
The government had been against the tractor rally, arguing that it would be an "embarrassment to the nation". But it failed to convince the Supreme Court, which earlier pointed out that the right to hold peaceful protests has been granted by to the Constitution. The court had left the decision on the rally to the Delhi Police, saying it was a matter of law and order.