January 29, 2021 6:20:14 am
Locals claiming to be from nearby villages staged a protest against farmers at the Singhu border Thursday, complaining that the two-month-long agitation has made their daily commute difficult. Around 70-100 people who said they were from Bakhtawarpur, Hamidpur, Palla and other villages raised slogans against the protesting farmers and demanded their “removal from Singhu”.
Naresh Goyal, a shopkeeper, said, “Because of these farmers, we have been struggling every day. My shop is on the route and I can’t run it. We have to walk long distances to buy groceries and do other things. We have been quiet because they were protesting peacefully but now they have insulted our national flag. I want them to be removed.”
Goyal was joined by others — mostly labourers and small businessmen — who shouted slogans like “Inko hatao… Bharat Mata ko bachao” and “Jai Bharat, Jai Ram”.
“We are not here to support any party or agenda. Our only demand is to clear this road. We want to go back and work. The lockdown was bad for us. I don’t want to face more losses because of these people who claim to be farmers,” said Ashwani Kumar (38), a sports teacher in a school.
The protesters said the farmers at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders insulted the national flag and disturbed Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.
Rakesh, who runs a godown in Kundli, said he has not worked for the last two months. “These farmers can eat all they want but my family doesn’t have food. We want the protesters out of here. They can’t block all roads and sit peacefully. People who work under me have also not earned money. Our fight is against the protesters. I saw how they insulted the national flag at Red Fort and thrashed policemen. They don’t deserve to be here,” he said.
Pradeep, a local from Hamidpur, shouted, “We will break through the barricades and remove the protesters if they don’t leave soon.”
While the police managed to convince the protesters to retreat, they said they would return with more people.
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