The farmers of Haryana and Punjab are heading to the National Capital New Delhi, demanding roll back of the three farm bills passed in September.
The three farm bills are, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020, the Farmers Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 (Empowerment and Protection) and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020, were cleared by the President of India.
According to the passed bills, the Minimum Support Price (MSP,) area of trading would be under the purview of the Indian Government
The reason behind the farmers protest is their fear of being at the mercy of corporates or zamindars for crop prices. The new bills would also demolish the Minimum Support Price (MSP) advantages for farmers.
Thousands of farmers from various places of Punjab and Haryana called for the “Chalo Dilli” protest and started marching to Delhi. They started on the evening of the 25th of November.
On the 26th of November, a group of farmers and leaders of the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta Ugrahan, a Kisan union in Punjab, started walking to Delhi through other routes.
Previously, the group decided to march and enter Delhi through highways, but due to heavy barricading by the Haryana Police, they had to change their strategies and walk again today morning.
Members of the Kirti Kisan Union, BKU Kadian and Rajewal factions plan to assemble at Mastuana Sahib in Sangrur and head for Shambhu border at 11: A.M., on the 26th of November.
On the 26th of November, the farmers witnessed several police personnel who tried to stop farmers from entering with water cannons, tear gas and barricades at every point.
The Haryana Government on the 25th of November, sealed their borders with Punjab, aiming to stop the farmers of the State from joining the “Chalo Dilli” march. They also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of the protesters.
A large number of police personnel were deployed in New Delhi to control the protesting farmers.
As the farmers continued to head towards Delhi, the Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Narendra Singh Tomar asked the protesting farmers to calm down and invited them to talk.
Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava, who visited the bordering areas, said “Due to COVID-19 guidelines have been issued in which political gathering is not permitted here and for this, their (the farmers’) request was rejected. If they still make an attempt, we have deployed personnel at the borders to not let them enter the national capital. We are also in contact with Punjab and Haryana Police.”
In addition, the Delhi police brought five sand laden trucks and three water cannons at the Singhu Border to stop tractors being driven by the protesters.
Delhi metro services to neighbouring cities of the national capital were also suspended till from 2:00 P.M., on the 26th of November and would remain suspended today, the 27th of November as well.
In a late evening statement, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation also announced there would be no metro services from Anand Vihar to Vaishali and New Ashok Nagar to Noida City Centre.
However, regular metro services will remain available in the entire section of Airport and Rapid Metro lines during the period.
Areas affected by the police deployment include – NH-24, DND, Chilla Border, Tigri Border, Bahadurgarh Border, Faridabad Border, Kalindi Kunj Border and Singhu Border.
Highlighting the political developments due to the farmer’s protest, many opposition parties supported the farmers and criticised the Haryana Police and Delhi Police.
Rahul Gandhi, the former President of the Indian National Congress (INC,) Priyanka Gandhi, an INC leader, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, were among those who criticised the Haryana Police’s action.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhbir Singh Badal also criticised attempts to thwart the protest.
Mr. Singh took to Twitter and said, “Today is Punjab’s 26/11. We are witnessing the end of the right to democratic protest.”