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Farmer protests: 34 cops injured in Hisar clash, Singhu and Tikri borders to partially reopen, mobile internet restored, ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on hold

The process of partially opening the borders between Tikri and Singhu has been commenced by Delhi Police. Five of the six layers of barricading have been removed by the cops

The Haryana government has started to resume the amenities that were snapped due to the farmer protests. Internet services which were suspended from 13th February in seven districts of the state including Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Fatehabad, Sirsa, Jind and Hisar were restored after 24th February midnight. Mobile internet and bulk SMS services were first discontinued on 11th February which was then extended on 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, and 23 February.

The process of partially opening the borders between Tikri and Singhu has also been commenced by Delhi Police. Five of the six layers of barricading have been removed by the cops. They worked through the night to tear down the concrete barricades. A police source revealed, “We have started removing barricades from the Singhu border and intend to open two lanes for both incoming and outgoing traffic by Sunday evening.”

The border serves as the entry point to Punjab and Haryana. One lane has been unblocked in Tikri, according to a senior officer. He added, “We are planning to open more lanes, but it will take some time.” Bahadurgarh borders Tikri on one side and Mundka on the other. The two borders were sealed on 13th February as agitators from Punjab began their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march.

Furthermore, other districts which shared their borders with Punjab were also barred. The Tukar border in the Pehowa area and the Kumhar Majra border in Isma Allahabad were closed off along with National Highway 44 near the Markanda River in Shahabad till late 24th February night. However, some respite is anticipated on the national highway in addition to the secured borders as well.

Meanwhile, the farmers have once again announced a march to Delhi on 26th February in response to calls from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait) and Samyukt Kisan Morcha. Tractor marches by farmers will head down the Yamuna Expressway towards Delhi. A meeting of the Bharatiya Kisan Union was held on 24th February to make this tractor march a success. It was chaired by Ranveer Mukhia and moderated by Robin Nagar.

According to Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait) Western Uttar Pradesh president Pawan Khatana, all labourers and farmers will congregate at the Dankaur Salarpur underpass on 26th February at 10:00 am with tractor-trolleys. They will then proceed along the Yamuna Expressway in the direction of Delhi. A peaceful tractor march has been called for by the organization.

After the development, the authorities started to convince the farmers. In light of the declaration and ‘Shab-e-Barat’ on 25th February, Section 144 has been implemented in the district. Farmers in the district will not take part in the tractor march, per police officials. However, discussions are being held with the office bearers of all farmer organizations.

More police officers will be stationed at all Delhi and Noida entry and departure points from 25th February. Anil Yadav, Deputy Commissioner Of Police (DCP) Traffic, pointed out that route diversion is another option and a decision in this regard will be taken following the meeting. Traffic-related information will be published on multiple platforms frequently to prevent inconvenience to individuals.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) will also stage a demonstration with tractors on the Eastern Peripheral and Meerut Expressway on 26th February demanding legislation on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and other demands. Rakesh Tikait, BKU’s spokesperson made the announcement. Ompla Singh, another BKU leader claimed that the traffic would not be stopped during the march. Farmers will only protest and march some distance with tractors on the expressway. They intend to employ a single-side lane. Traffic will not be stopped during this time. He threatened that the government would have to fulfil the demands of the farmers otherwise farmers would go to Delhi on 14th March.

On the other hand, Sarwan Singh Pandher earlier noted on 23rd February that they will remain at the two protest locations on the Punjab-Haryana border till 29th February when the next course of action will be determined. The decision was taken by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), who are leading the current agitation at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders. Sarwan Singh Pandher mentioned, “The next announcement about the agitation will be made on February 29,” while talking to the media at the Khanauri protest site.

He also provided information about the activities the farmers will be participating in over the next few days including the candle march on 24th February, seminars on topics pertaining to farmers on 25th February, effigies of the World Trade Organization and the Center will be burned on 26th February and over the next two days, there will be multiple meetings of SKM (Non-Political) and KMM. On 21st February, farmer leaders decided to postpone the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march for two days following the death of a protestor and the injuries of around twelve police officers during altercations in Khanauri.

Meanwhile, Hansi Superintendent of Police (SP) Maqsood Ahmed reported on 24th February that at least 34 police personnel, including him and two Deputy-Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank officials, suffered injuries following a confrontation that broke out between the Haryana Police and farmers at Kheri Chopta village in Hisar one day earlier. Speaking at a press conference in Hansi, he remarked that the police had used tear gas shells and water cannons to contain the farmers as they tried to stop them from advancing from Kheri Chopta village when the latter pelted stones on them. He requested the farmers to uphold peace and not violate law and order.

The dispute started on 23rd February when the farmers from Kheri Chopta hamlet declared they were going to Khanauri. Around 2:30 pm, when they began making their way to their tractor-trailers, the police placed heavy security in place to halt their movement. Cops used water cannons and tear gas shells to scatter farmers as they began going from the protest site and the latter hurled stones on them.

The top cop added, “No first information report (FIR) was registered against farmers. We held a meeting with farmer leaders and urged them to restore peace. We had released 16 farmers, who were detained during the clash.” Farmer leader Vikas Sisar declared that they would not stop protesting at Kheri Chopta village until their demands were fulfilled.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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