Updated: February 6, 2021 10:55:43 am
A countrywide road blockade or ‘chakka jam‘ has been called by the protesting farmers on Saturday, February 6, in support of their demand to repeal three new farm laws that they describe as being “anti-farmer”. Scores of people on tractor-trailers have continued to pour into Ghazipur from the Uttar Pradesh side of the highway and many left for their native places with a resolve to make the mega rally a success in their regions.
This is the first big event being organised by the agitating farmers after the Republic Day tractor rally, which saw chaotic scenes as groups of protesting farmers broke off the planned parade route, entered the centre of the national capital, clashed with the police as well as hoisted a farm union flag and a Sikh religious flag on the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
Why the ‘Chakka Jam‘
The ‘chakka jam’, has been called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions protesting the farm laws. This is response to the Union Budget 2021 that is said to have “ignored” the demands of farmers and the internet ban imposed by the central government at various protest sites bordering the national capital.
Which parts will get affected
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Barring Delhi, the blockade will take place in other parts of the National Capital Region, which comprises parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, and the rest of country including the southern states.
Speaking to reporters, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait — who has been leading the stir since November last year — said, “Dilli mein hum nahi kar rahe, wahan to raja ne khud qile-bandi kar li hai humare jaam karne ki zaroorat hi nahi hai (We are not going to do anything in Delhi, the king there has already fortified it, there is no need for us to do a blockade now)”
For how long is the chakka jam
The ‘Chakka Jam’ is expected to be a three-hour blockade between 12 noon and 3 pm on roads and highways. Tikait has said that those vehicles which will come and stop will be given water and food. These people will also be provided with items like ‘chana’ and peanuts and will be apprised of what the government is doing with the farmers.
The kisan leader has further termed the ‘Chakka Jam’ as an ‘ideological revolution’ led by the farmers. He added that the revolt has no connection with phones or social media platforms like WhatsApp in a reference to the suspension of internet services at the farmer protest sites in Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders.
In view of the nationwide ‘Chakka Jam‘, the Delhi Police has strengthened security arrangements at all border points in the national capital. The police have erected multi-layer barricades to stop the movement of vehicles at the Ghazipur border. Barbed wires have also been put up to keep off people on foot.
The Haryana Police has also stepped up security measures in a bid to maintain law and order. Senior police officers have been asked to personally supervise security and traffic arrangements at vital junctions and roads while district police chiefs have been directed to ensure deployment of adequate personnel, according to an official communication issued to them.
What are the protests about
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been camping at Delhi’s borders seeking the repeal of the three agriculture laws. The protesting farmers have expressed the apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations. The government, however, has rejected these claims stating that the laws will only give farmers more options to sell their produce.
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