New Delhi: The Delhi Police has turned the entire area around Jantar Mantar, into a fortress ahead of a planned protest by the agitating farmers, who have been protesting for the repeal of three farm laws passed by Parliament since last November. The sit-in, called ‘Kisan Panchayat’, will start near Parliament in a renewed push to pressure the government to repeal the controversial agri-laws.
The agitation, including a Kisan Sansad, is being held in groups of some 200 while Parliament is in session, they said. They arrived in buses from the capital’s Singhu border point, escorted by the police.
A heavy police force has been deployed at the site of the protest and made arrangements to tackle any untoward incident- one like the January 26 violence.
The police have already enveloped parts of the national capital – like Singhu, Tikri and other places where farmers gave been protesting – under triple-layered security cover.
“We have placed preventive arrangements to avoid the entry of any miscreant at the Tikri border. The arrangement has been put in place as they (farmers) haven’t received permission to hold protest here,” Parvinder Singh, DCP (Outer District) said.
The Delhi Police on Wednesday permitted farmers to hold the demonstration after they took an undertaking from the protesters that they would not march towards Parliament. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has allowed the protest to go on from 11am to 5pm, and permitted only 200 protesters per day who have to follow Covid-19 protocols. The permission has been granted from July 22 to August 9.
Disaster management rules were tweaked for this. Covid protocol to be strictly followed. Participants in farmer protest will carry ID cards. “What do we have to do with hooliganism? Are we miscreants?” Bharatiya Kisan Union Leader Rakesh Tikait said when asked about the Republic Day violence.
The farmers were adamant on taking the GT Karnal Road from Singhu. They were stopped by police, asking them to take an alternative route. After initial resistance, the police took the farmers inside a resort to count their numbers. Only 206 are allowed each day as per conditions.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other party MPs protest near Gandhi Statue in Parliament House Complex against farm laws. Shiromani Akali Dal demands discussion on matter in Rajya Sabha.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says new farm laws are beneficial. Laws can be discussed “point-wise” if farmers express the issues, he says.
Traffic movement will be hit on some Delhi roads, the police said. They have made arrangements to avoid entry of potential mischief-makers through the Tikri border point.
Tonote, tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on major highways leading to New Delhi for more nearly eight months. The farmers took out a tractor rally on January 26 (Republic Day) in Delhi during which the angry protesters clashed with police after driving their vehicles into security barriers. More than 80 police officers were injured across the city during the violence.
The farmers especially from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh are demanding the withdrawal of the laws which they say favour large private retailers who, prior to the new laws, were not permitted to procure farm goods outside government-regulated wholesale grain markets.
On the contrary, the Centre says the laws, introduced in September 2020, will unshackle farmers from having to sell their produce only at regulated wholesale markets.