Despite police using water cannons on protesting farmers twice and putting various barricades on the Ambala-Delhi National Highway, farmers moved towards Delhi from Ambala as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ call scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Farmers broke police barricades at three places on Ambala-Delhi National Highway after they started moving towards Delhi from Ambala district on Wednesday afternoon. Police also used water cannons near Shahabad in Kurukshetra to stop the farmers’ onward march.
Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union president Gurnam Singh Chaduni claimed that thousands of farmers were part of their march. Police believe that farmers, who are travelling in tractors and other vehicles, would opt for a night haul somewhere on the national highway before proceedings towards Delhi on Thursday morning again.
Police use water cannons on Haryana farmers on Ambala-Delhi highway in Kurukshetra district pic.twitter.com/wzlwLBGJ0V
— Express Punjab (@iepunjab) November 25, 2020
How the day unfolded
Unfazed by the heavy security arrangements by the police and arrests of several leaders, the farmers gathered at Mohda Mandi of Ambala district on Wednesday morning. The local authorities tried to convince them not to move to Delhi but the farmers insisted to move to the national capital as part of their stir against the farm laws. After breaking the first barricade in Ambala district, the farmers started moving towards Delhi on the Ambala-Delhi National Highway which is also known as GT road.
After crossing the first barricade, Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, “Thousands of farmers have begun moving towards Delhi from Ambala after breaking the first barricade near Ambala. We have come to know that one more barricade has been installed ahead but we will break that too even if the police use lathis on us. But neither the farmers have indulged in any scuffle today nor they will do so in future. Our agitation will be peaceful but we will keep moving towards Delhi.”
Near Shahabad town, the police had erected another barricade to halt movement of the protesters but farmers succeeded to break the barricade despite police using water cannons.
After five-km towards Kurukshetra from Shahabad, there was another police barricade, but farmers broke this one too without caring for the water cannons.
Haryana DGP Manoj Yadava said, “We have used water cannons on agitators at two places when we saw they were dismantling and breaking the barricades. To deter them from doing so, we used water cannons but they did not relent. Water cannons come in the category of non-lethal force.”
The DGP added: “Till now the agitation is peaceful. Whatever force has been used that’s by the farmers against the policemen. We had tried them to stop at two places on the highway. At both places they removed our concrete barricades with the help of their tractors and other means. They dishonoured the police directions not to proceed further. We have not used the force against the agitating farmers. They have reached Pipli and are probably making a night haul there.” A senior police officer said, “We have sealed the borders with Punjab and Delhi but that sealing will be tested on Thursday morning.”
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday had said the state borders with Punjab would remain sealed on November 26 and 27. Around 80 farmers leaders have been arrested in the current phase of agitation in Haryana.
Drone assist police arrangements
The police were also keeping vigil over farmers’ groups with drones hovering over them on inter-state borders.
Haryana authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of protesters.
Karnal’s Superintendent of Police Ganga Ram Punia told reporters that sufficient police force has been deployed to maintain law and order because of the farmers’ protest march.
Videography and photography were being done at inter-state borders and other sensitive points by the Haryana police. The Haryana police has deployed an adequate number of security personnel at roads bordering Punjab to prevent farmers from moving towards Delhi.
Haryana stops bus services to Punjab
Meanwhile, keeping in view the farmers’ agitation, the Haryana government has decided to stop the bus services to Punjab from the state for the time-being. The government has issued directions to all the general managers of the Haryana Roadways depots in this regard. The government has also asked not to allow travel of more than 52 passengers per bus. The general managers have been asked to keep in reserve as many as five buses in each of the roadways depots to meet any emergent situation. These measures will be followed till the ongoing farm agitation goes on, mentioned the officials.
Traffic movement disrupted
Amid the farmers blocking various stretches of roads, the vehicular traffic too was severely disrupted for several hours on the national highway. A few Army vehicles also remained stranded in Kurukshetra district for some time due to the agitation, officials said.
A truck driver carrying some essentials from Jalandhar to Mumbai said he got stuck as vehicles’ movement towards Haryana has been stopped near the inter-state border in Fatehabad.
DGP Yadava said, “The traffic is likely to be disrupted during two days (Thursday and Friday) on the national highways in Haryana because of the efforts of the farmers to move to Delhi. The commuters may face inconvenience, if possible they should avoid the avoidable journeys.”
Meanwhile, the District Magistrates in many districts of the state have imposed prohibtory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC to maintain law and order in their respective areas. Duty magistrate has also been appointed to tackle the farmers stir.
Cong supports farmers’ march
Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja on Wednesday said the Congress stands shoulder-to-shoulder with farms in their fight against the farm laws. She claimed the BJP-led government was trying to muzzle farmers’ voice and prevent them from registering their protest against the “anti-farmer” central laws.
Use of water cannons is cruelty: Hooda
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Wednesday tweeted to condemn the police action against farmers. “During increasing cold and in the times of coronavirus, use of water cannons is cruelty on the farmers. Why is the Haryana’s BJP-JJP government so afraid from the farmers who are coming to Delhi to raise their voice against anti-farmer laws?”
Haryana employees to go on strike today
Adding to the adminstration’s troubles, government employees in Haryana have also announced to go on strike on Thursday as part of the nationwide strike of the employees. The employees are opposing the policies allegedly meant to privatise PSUs (public sector utilities). Few unions of the Haryana Roadways employees too have announced to go on strike while others have announced to hold demonstrations on Thursday. On its part, the government has already asked all departments to prepare a contingency plan “so that office functioning and essential services to the public do not suffer on account of the strike”. There are 2.75 lakh regular employees in Haryana government’s departments, boards and corporations apart from around one lakh other employees who are working for these bodies as part of different forms of contract.
(WITH PTI INPUTS)
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