Haryana has sealed borders with Punjab on November 26 and 27
- Massive security arrangements made on roads from Punjab to stop the march
- Delhi has refused to allow any rally in the city, citing the pandemic
- Farmers from Punjab camped at the Haryana border for the night
Thousands of farmers from Congress-run Punjab are assembling at the border of Haryana for their march towards Delhi on Thursday morning, ready for any confrontation with the security personnel deployed by the BJP-ruled state, which is determined to stop them. A showdown is likely with farmers from five states - Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab - planning a march to Delhi today and tomorrow. The Delhi government has refused to allow any rally in the city, citing the coronavirus outbreak. Massive security arrangements have been made at the borders with Delhi at Gurugram and Faridabad.
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Haryana has sealed borders with Punjab today and tomorrow after orders from Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Massive security arrangement, complete with barricades, water cannons and riot vehicles have been made on roads from Punjab to thwart the protest march. Prohibitory orders banning large gatherings have been imposed in the state.
Haryana has also suspended bus service to and from Punjab for the next two days and diverted all traffic from the blocked roads.
Farmers from Punjab camped at the Haryana border for the night. They said they will hold a sit-down protest wherever they are stopped by the neighbouring state. The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) has claimed that over two lakh farmers associated with it will enter Haryana.
The farmers have brought ration, vegetables, wood and other essentials for the march. In view of the cold weather, they have also stocked quilts, blankets and covered their trolleys with tarpaulin. "We are ready for the battle, which may last long," said BKU (Ekta-Ugarhan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan. The farmers have said they will not return till the matter is settled.
Haryana on Wednesday wasn't successful in stopping its own farmers from marching towards Delhi. Breaching barricades and water cannons, thousands are making their way through the state, stopping at Karnal and Sonipat for the night. They plan to resume their journey tomorrow.
A convoy of farmers and anti-farm bill protestors travelling from Madhya Pradesh to Delhi, led by activist Medha Patkar, was stopped near Agra by the Uttar Pradesh authorities. Medha Patkar has been arrested.
Delhi is undertaking its own security arrangements, deploying forces at the borders, focusing especially on Ghazipur border, Chilla border and DND. Eight companies of paramilitary forces will be stationed at the borders and Metro services curtailed as a precautionary measure.
The Delhi Police tweeted earlier on Wednesday saying all the requests received from various farmer organisations have been rejected and this has already been communicated to the organisers. "Please cooperate with Delhi Police in ensuring no gathering in Delhi amid coronavirus, failing which legal action will be initiated as per law," its tweet read.
In a series of tweets, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal registered his protest. "By stopping Punjabi farmers from peacefully exercising democratic rights, centre is repeating 1980 when the Akalis were stopped from entering Delhi to protest," his post read. The Prime Minister's Office, he said, must intervene "to ensure that this is stopped immediately and the Annadatas are not harassed and humiliated".
The centre has called farmers - who want a repeal of the farm laws - for a second round of negotiations on December 3. But with the first round of meeting falling through last month as both the agriculture minister and his deputy gave it a miss, the farmers have decided to make their point with the big protest march. The protest has the support of around 500 farmer organisations.