Farmers' protest: Villagers near Rajasthan-Haryana border demand end to agitation; cite impact on business and livelihood
AFP

Residents of around 30 villages near Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border are demanding an end to the protest by farmers who have blocked the national highway 48 since the last 30 days.

The angry villagers are opposing the farmers’ agitation saying that they have blocked the highway which has affected the business and livelihoods of the surrounding village. They have threatened to block approach roads to the highway.

The villagers from Rajasthan and Haryana held a mahapanchayat on Sunday and demanded that the farmers be asked to vacate the highway or the villagers would forcibly remove the farmers.

During the mahapanchayat several villagers spoke about the difficulties they are facing. They said that due to the highway being blocked, the petrol pumps are seeing less business and are not being able to pay their staff.

The villagers said traffic from the highway has been diverted into villages and the movement of a large number of heavy vehicles is damaging the roads and proving a safety hazard. They said the hundreds of farmers sitting in the agitation are also dirtying the fields.

In view of the heightened tension at the protest site, Rajasthan and Haryana police deployed additional forces to keep the situation under control. Talks were held between the two sides to find a peaceful solution.

Several farmer organisations have been staging a sit-in at Shahjahanpur against the farm laws and have blocked the Jaipur-Delhi national highway 8 since the past month.

A farmer leader of the Kisan Mahapanchayat Rampal Jat said the farmers are not against the villagers. “We sympathise with them. We too don’t want to sit here and protest. We want to go to Delhi but Haryana police has blocked the highway and are not letting us go. Why don’t the villagers appeal to the Haryana government to open the highway?” he said.

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