Tension Mounts At Haryana Borders As Farmers' Protest Intensifies

Tension Mounts At Haryana Borders As Farmers' Protest Intensifies

A score of farmers could also be seen readying their make-shift body armour so as to save themselves from firing of rubber bullets by police

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 10:18 PM IST
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(IANS / Qamar Sibtain)

Chandigarh: Tension gripped Haryana borders as swarms of protesting farmers from Punjab seemed determined to head to Delhi on Wednesday to press for their demands including MSP for their crops and loan waivers, even as their number swelled and several of them came prepared with modified tractors and other heavy earth-moving machines such as Poclain machines and JCBs to the Shambhu barrier to remove barricade put up by Haryana police.

A score of farmers could also be seen readying their make-shift body armour so as to save themselves from firing of rubber bullets by police.

The Haryana police, on the other hand, also beefed up the security measures and had installed ``sound canon’’ to stop and disperse the protesting farmers from taking their ``Delhi Chalo'' tractor march through Haryana on Wednesday and installed the ``sound cannon’’ at Shambhu border. It may be recalled that the sound cannon or Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) is a specialised loudspeaker that produces highly shrilling sound to disperse the crowds.

The situation had gotten grim since Monday night after the farmer leaders rejected on Monday the Centre’s offer of legal guarantee for five crops – maize, cotton and three pulses – the fourth meeting between the farmer leaders and a team led by three Union ministers on February 18.

The leaders including Sarwan Singh Pandher and Jagjit Singh Dallewal, said on Monday that they rejected the Centre’s offer and that their ``Delhi Chalo’’ march would begin on February 21 at 11 am if the Centre did not respond with a solution to their demands by then.

The farmers who demanded legal guarantee of MSP for their crops, implementations of Swaminathan commission recommendations, pension for farmers, farm loan waivers etc, have been camping at the Shambhu and Kharauni borders of Punjab and Haryana and have had violent skirmishes with Haryana police leaving three farmers and two Haryana police personnel dead and several dozens of them, injured.

Meanwhile, even though the SKM and SKM-All India have announced to not be part of February 21 march, the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) have supported it.

HC against tractors trolleys on highways

Meanwhile, in a significant development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the hearing on the plea against Haryana’s barricading of the national highways, held on Tuesday that it could not allow the tractors and tractor-trolleys on the national highways under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Stating that though a peaceful protest was everyone's right, it should  be seen that it did not cause any inconvenience to anyone.

Asking why the protesters could not go to Delhi in buses or by other means, the high court questioned why they were taking tractors and trolleys for the same. It also asked the protesters to assemble in small numbers at the protest sites.

Another Haryana cop dies at Shambhu border

Meanwhile, another police personnel of Haryana Police, exempted sub-inspector (ESI) Kaushal Kumar, posted at Shambhu border passed away on Tuesday. An official release said that he felt unwell and his health suddenly deteriorated while on duty, after which he was immediately taken to Ambala Civil Hospital where doctors declared him dead. His was fifth death reported during the farmers’ protest, the other being of three farmers and another Haryana sub-inspector Hiralal.

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