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On Constitution Day, police use tear gas, water cannon on farmers


While many farmer leaders were detained November 24 and 25 and taken into preventive custody, others were detained November 26 too


Farmers march in protest in Sitamarhi, Bihar against the three agriculture-related laws passed in September. Photo: AIKSCC

The police continued to use coercive measures against farmers trying to reach the national capital from various parts of the country as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest rally November 26-27, 2020.

Haryana police used tear gas and water cannons against farmers in Ambala and Kurukshetra as they tried to reach Delhi.

 

While many farmer leaders were detained November 24 and 25 and taken into preventive custody, others were detained November 26 too.

Yogendra Yadav, president of political party Swaraj India was detained at Rathiwas village near the Delhi-Gurugram border as he tried to enter Delhi along with 20 farmers.

Farmer groups and farmer leaders from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh were detained at the Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh border at Semar Ka Pura by Uttar Pradesh police on the night of November 25. Other groups were stopped in Agra.

Farmers crossed the Shambhu borderpost at Ambala and had crossed Kurukshetra and Pipli Mandi in their tens of thousands and were marching towards Delhi, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a platform of around 300 farmer groups, said.

“It is expected that more than 50,000 farmers will be standing at the Delhi border by today evening. The numbers are expected to swell through the night as thousands of tractors and trolleys are carrying farmers, women and children from interior areas of Punjab reach. All attempts by the inhuman, anti-people, RSS-BJP Haryana government to stop the farmers by lathicharging, water cannon, tear gas have been resolutely thwarted by the farmers, who have acted unitedly and peacefully to remove the barricades and move into Delhi,” it added.

In Uttar Pradesh, a gathering of more than 2,000 farmers was stopped at Bilaspur turn, Rampur. The UP police prevented them from moving to Delhi; however they were staying put on the Nainital–Delhi highway and were waiting to be allowed to move ahead.

The stand off near Agra, where farmer leaders Medha Patkar, Pratibha Shinde and others had been prevented from moving continues.

“The continuing detention of Medha Patkar, Pratibha Shinde, Yogendra Yadav, Krishnaprasad and all other farmer leaders is denounced and condemned and their immediate release is demanded,” AIKSCC said.

The march was called to protest the three farm bills passed in September that are seen as anti-farmer as well as a proposed Electricity Bill, 2020.

Around 200,000 farmers from across India were said to be approaching Delhi, according to a claim by AIKSCC.

Farmers in Punjab and other states, who started to move from November 24 or 25, were forced to spend the night on the roads in the cold after they were stopped by the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh police.

AIKSCC said gurdwaras in some places had served food to the farmers. Many farmers also had brought rations in their tractors and trollies as they had come prepared for the long haul.

There was heavy presence of police personnel in riot gear across different points of Gurugram to stop farmers from entering Delhi.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre and Haryana “not to indulge in strong arm tactics”.

 

“For nearly two months, farmers have been protesting peacefully in Punjab without any problem. Why is the Haryana government provoking them by resorting to force? Don’t the farmers have the right to pass peacefully through a public highway,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

“It’s a sad irony that on ConstitutionDay2020, the constitutional right of farmers is being oppressed in this manner. Let them pass @mlkhattar ji, don’t push them to the brink. Let them take their voice to Delhi peacefully,” another post read.

Amarinder’s counterpart in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal also appealed to the Centre to let the farmers protest peacefully.

Hundreds of farmers who were already in Delhi, had gathered outside Jantar Mantar. They were stopped from going inside and were detained by Delhi police.

There were heavy traffic jams at the Gurugram-Delhi border where police personnel were checking vehicles.

Public transport in Haryana, especially in areas bordering Punjab was also suspended. Meanwhile, the Delhi Metro also suspended operations of its Blue Line in view of the protest. 






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