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Farmers’ protest: MHA orders suspension of internet at Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders

Apart from the three borders of Delhi, internet services will remain suspended in their adjoining areas too effective from 11 pm of January 29 to 11 pm of January 31, the official said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 30, 2021 4:10:35 pm
Farmers' stir: Thousands converge for third 'mahapanchayat' in western UP in as many daysFarmers gathered at Ghazipur border for a Kisan mahapanchayat on Friday. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha)

As more people head towards Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders to join the farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws, the Union Home Ministry Saturday issued an order temporarily suspending internet services at the three protest sites and their adjoining areas from 11 pm of January 29 to 11 pm of January 31.

The decision has been taken to “maintain public safety and averting public emergency” under Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules 2017, the official said.

The Haryana government has already suspended mobile internet and SMS services in 14 districts and extended the same in three others till 5 pm on January 30. With this, only voice calls are now allowed in 17 of the 22 districts. The government move has come at a time when people from across Haryana have started moving towards Delhi’s borders, especially Ghazipur, Tikri, and Singhu, to extend support to the farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agri laws.

The situation at the three protest sites has been tense since Thursday when a group, claiming as locals of the areas, forcefully entered the sites, claiming that their agitation had affected their livelihoods.

Incidents of violence were reported from Singhu border on Friday where a group of some 200 people got past three layers of security barricades and clashed with the farmers, with both sides throwing stones at each other. A Delhi Police SHO was injured in the protests.

The police later said that 44 people, including a 22-year-old man who allegedly attacked a sub-inspector with a sword, were arrested. Sources told The Indian Express all those arrested were farm protesters.

The farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, who have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November 25 last year, have been demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws promulgated by the Centre, fearing that they would lead to the abolishment of the minimum support price (MSP) guaranteed by the government on select crops and would leave them at the mercy of big corporates.

The three laws are: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

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