February 23, 2024

Cement barriers are being placed to block the farmers at the borders


Mobile internet connectivity has been suspended in seven districts as the BJP-led Haryana government gears up to block the farmers’ march to Delhi on Tuesday. The Manohar Lal Khattar government has issued a notification, saying dongle services provided on mobile phones, will remain suspended and only voice calls would go through.

The farmers are demanding a law to guarantee Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce and pension and insurance schemes. More than 200 organisations are part of the protest.

Mobile internet services have been suspended in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts till Tuesday night.

Police, meanwhile, have planned to seal Haryana-Punjab borders to ensure protesting farmers from the neighbouring state cannot enter Haryana before proceeding to Delhi. This move will inconvenience those travelling between Chandigarh and Delhi. Police have announced alternative routes for this purpose.

Haryana Police have advised commuters to avoid arterial roads on Tuesday. It has also warned of traffic disruption due to the protest. On the borders between Haryana and Delhi, cement barriers, barbed wires and sandbags are in place to stop the farmers from crossing into the national capital. Water cannons and drones have also been brought in.

Fifty companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed to assist Haryana Police. Haryana police chief Shatrujeet Kapur warned of taking strict action if anyone tries to disrupt peace. The police have asked farmers to stay away and also warned of action if public property is damaged. Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, too, has said the state government “will ensure complete peace”.

The Centre, meanwhile, has invited the protesting farmers for talks tomorrow. But it is unlikely that the meeting will result in the farmers calling off protests because the demands require detailed discussion and parliamentary moves.

The protest is being organised by Samyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political) and several farmers’ organisations have distanced itself from it. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), which was part of the farmers’ protest in 2020-21 that led to the Centre withdrawing three laws, said they won’t join Tuesday’s protest. Instead, they will participate in a protest on Friday. The BKU, however, warned that if farmers part of Tuesday’s protest are “manhandled”, all unions will hit the streets.

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