Updated February 13th, 2024 at 00:40 IST

Farmers Protest 2.0: Will 2020 Re-Run Besiege Capital? Delhi, Haryana Police on Alert

Farmers Protest 2.0: The Delhi and Haryana police are on high alert as farmers from 9 states and Puducherry are scheduled to take to the streets on Feb 13.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Farmers Protest 2.0 | Image:PTI
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Farmers Protest: In a bid to avoid a re-run of the infamous 2020 Red Fort siege-like incident, the Delhi and Haryana police have left no stone unturned in preparation for the farmers' 2.0 'Chalo Delhi’ protest. The Delhi and Haryana police are on high alert as farmers from 9 states and Puducherry are scheduled to take to the streets of Delhi on February 13. "Tomorrow morning... 200 Farmers' Unions will march towards Delhi...to complete the agitation that was left incomplete...Farmers' Unions of 9 states are currently in touch...Puducherry, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, MP, UP, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab, all these states are ready for the agitation", said Sukhwinder Singh Sabhra, Punjab (Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee) KMSC President.

Farmers Protest 2.0: Who's Boiling The Pot? 

In the earlier protests, almost all the farmer organisations in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, numbering more than 40, had come under the Sanyukt Kisa Morcha (SKM). This time a breakaway faction of that umbrella body is spearheading the protests. Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political) excludes major farmer leaders who had hogged the headlines last time such as Darshan Pal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal and Gurnam Singh Charuni.

In previous protests, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) served as an umbrella organization encompassing over 40 farmer organizations from Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh. However, this time protests are being led by a breakaway faction of the SKM. This new faction, known as the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political), excludes prominent farmer leaders who were central figures in the previous protests, such as Darshan Pal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, and Gurnam Singh Charuni.

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The current protests, spearheaded by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political), include organisations such as BKU (Dallewal) led by Jagjit Singh Dallewal and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha led by Sarvan Singh Pandher. This faction claims the backing of 17 farm organisations. Ahead of the February 13 Delhi Chalo march, Pandher and Dallewal, both from Punjab, along with Abhimanyu Kohar from Haryana, have emerged as prominent figures representing the SKM (non-political).

The bigger farmer leaders like Rakesh Tikait who had spearheaded the previous protests are in wait-and-watch mode. 

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Compared to previous protests, there seems to be less enthusiasm from Khaps and Jat community organizations this time around. During earlier protests, these groups had played a significant role in mobilizing support. However, last time, Khaps and Jat community organizations became actively involved only after farmers, primarily from Punjab, initiated the protests and reached the Delhi borders.       

Talks Between Centre And Farmers Ahead of Protests Fail

Addressing the media after talking to the Government, farm leaders said that they will be going forward with the protests at 10 am on Tuesday, “Haryana has become Kashmir Valley. Internet has been shut down. However, we still spoke to the government. We didn't want anyone to say that we didn't want to talk,” said the farm leaders. There still exists a deadlock on a law regarding MSP. The ministers have said that a committee will be formed to look into the MSP law.  The ministers have also agreed for compensation to Lakhimpur Kheri farmers. The Union Government agreed for the withdrawal of existing cases against farmers during the earlier agitation. The Centre also agreed for the withdrawal of the 2020 Electricity Amendment Bill.

Traffic Restrictions, Massive Security in Place

Traffic restrictions have been put in place and security arrangements intensified at the Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders in the national capital. The borders have been fortified with barricades and iron nails to prevent vehicles carrying protesters from entering the city. Additionally, the authorities have deployed cranes and earthmovers to strategically position large containers in order to block roads leading to key areas in Delhi. These preemptive actions aim to further fortify security and impede any attempts to disrupt public order during the 'Chalo Delhi' protest by farmers.   

Borders That Will Remain Shut

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  • Shambhu border: Ambala- Patiala
  • Khanouri border: Jind- Sangrur
  • Chikha border: Patiala- Kaithal
  • Dabwali border: Sirsa- Bathinda

Meanwhile, Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora visited the city's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to check the security arrangements. According to an advisory issued, traffic restrictions have been imposed for commercial vehicles at the Singhu border since Monday. Tuesday onwards, the restrictions apply to all types of vehicles, it said.

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Police have deployed more than 5,000 security personnel while cranes and earthmovers carrying large containers to block the road were also at work. Multiple security barricades have already been installed at the borders to stop the farmers from entering the national capital. Nails have been erected on roads so that if the protesting farmers try to enter the city on vehicles, their tyres can be punctured, the officials said.

Besides, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been enforced in the northeast district of Delhi to maintain law and order.  Moreover, the internet services and bulk SMS have also been snapped till February 13 in seven districts - Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa.  

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Why Are Farmers Protesting? 3 Key Demands

  • Farmers are reiterating their demand for legislation that ensures a minimum support price (MSP) for crops, one of the conditions they had set when they agreed to withdraw their agitation against the now-repealed farm laws in 2021.
  • They are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations. They also want pensions for farmers, and farm labourers, and farm debt waiver.
  • Farmers also want the Centre to provide ‘justice’ for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.  
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Published February 12th, 2024 at 20:38 IST