Monday, June 17, 2024

Protesting farmers damage barricades at Punjab-Haryana border

Chandigarh, Feb 13 (IANS) Protesting farmers on Tuesday damaged multi-layer barricades put up by the police to stop them at the border, by removing cement and barbed wire fencing with tractors.

The farmers were trying to break the barricades in a bid to cross the Shambhu border to enter Haryana from Punjab and head to the national Capital.

The farmers have stepped up their protests to press their demands for a law on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and waiver of farm loans, among other things.

The confrontation with the police was sparked off by the growers trying to break the multi-layered barricades using tractors and tools to remove tyre-killer spikes

Even as tear gas shells were dropped via drone and water cannons were used to deter the protestors from breaching the police bandobast, the farmers were seen forcibly trying to break the barricades.

They also tried to enter Haryana through fields on the sides of the highway and several were taken into preventing custody by the police.

Likewise, the farmers vandalised barriers at the Haryana-Punjab border at Moonak in Sangrur.

Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee General Secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said around 10,000 people had assembled at the Shambhu border.

“Tear gas is being used against us through drones,” he said.

Earlier in the day, thousands of farmers, led by over 200 unions under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non-political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, embarked on the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march from across Punjab towards the national Capital after several hours of a high-level meetings with farmer leaders and two Union ministers — Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda and Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, in Chandigarh till late on Monday night, remained inconclusive.

At the meeting, the Union ministers were in favour of setting up a committee on the MSP issue but the farmer leaders turned that down.

The Centre also agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers registered during the 2020-21 agitation.

However, the Centre did not make any commitment on a loan waiver.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal, who participated in the meeting, told the media that several committees on the issue had already advocated the need to legalise the MSP.

“So another committee would have served no purpose,” he said, adding “the government was also not serious on a loan waiver, though it waived off lakhs of crores of bad debt of big corporates.”

A spokesperson for the Haryana Police said they have made elaborate arrangements to maintain law and order in the state.

“A total of 114 companies have been deployed in various districts of the state, out of which 64 companies are from paramilitary forces and 50 companies are from Haryana Police,” spokesperson and Assistant Inspector General Manisha Chaudhary said.

The Haryana Police sealed all four entry points by putting up barricades, boulders, tippers filled with sand and barbed wires and iron spikes, impacting the movement of vehicular traffic.

Security has also been beefed up along the Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders to stop the farmers from entering Delhi.

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