New Delhi: In the wake of violent incidents breaking out at several farmers’ protesting sites and protest getting more intense with hundreds of supporters joining-in their counter-parts at the borders, the Union Home Ministry on Saturday afternoon issued a notice to suspend Internet services from 11 pm for a period of 24 hours at Delhi border areas of Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri.
These three borders have been the epicentres of the farmers’ months-long protest against the Centre’s contentious agriculture laws.
“… it is necessary and expedient to order the temporary suspension of internet services in the areas of Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri, and their adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi from 11 pm on January 29 to 11 pm on January 31,” the ministry notified.
Meanwhile, the Haryana government had on Friday shut down mobile internet services in 17 districts till 5 pm.
Tens of thousands of farmers across the nation have been camping in the chilling nights of winter since November 26 demanding Centre to repeal laws they say will leave them at the mercy of large corporate firms.
Th so far “peaceful” protest went violent on January 26 when groups of farmers and others clashed with police during a tractor rally that deviated from their agreed upon route and entered central parts of Delhi amid Republic Day celebrations. To control the storming farmers’ from entering the central city through barricades, Police had to resort to firing tear gas and lathi charges. This anarchy and mayhem had also took one farmer’s life while leaving hundreds of cops and farmers injured.
Following R-day’s violence, the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday ordered the removal of protesters from Ghazipur Delhi-UP border within 24 hours. The UP administration had also temporary cut off power and water supply to the hundreds of farmers at Ghazipur, who have been camping out on the roads.
By late Friday three CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) and six Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) companies, as well 1,000 police were deployed by the Yogi Adityanath government, leading to an uneasy overnight stand-off.
However, the farmers refused to leave and BKU leader Rakesh Tikait claiming he was “ready to face bullets” if needed. The farmers also accused the state government of acting in a “dictatorial” manner, and warned that thousands were on their way to join the protest.
“The Supreme Court has justified the peaceful sit-in,” Mr Tikait said, adding, “There has been no violence on the Ghazipur border… despite this government is adopting a repressive policy.”
“Thousands of farmers are reaching Ghazipur… If the government thinks they can oppress us, then they are wrong,” the Kisan Andolan Committee spokesperson told media.
The two other protest sites – Singhu and Tikri (both on the Haryana border) were also turned into police cantonment, with police digging up roads at all three sites to stop farmers from going further.
Meanwhile, in order to stop the protest from getting more intense with hundreds of supporters pouring in, the security personnel at Singhu border have cut the access to the main protest site and are conducting mock security drills. Police, however, called it a routine measure and suggested that action would only be taken after the farmer leaders respond to notices sent over Tuesday’s violence.
Although, the farmers are calling the violence to be a ploy to weak their movement. They also hit out at police notices sent to their leaders over Republic Day violence.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, protesting umbrella organisation of farmer unions said, “We will not be intimidated by the notices by Delhi Police and will respond to the same.”