Security personnel stand guard next to police barricades as farmers continue their protest against the central governments recent agricultural reforms blocking a highway at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border in Ghaziabad on February 6, 2021.
Security personnel stand guard next to police barricades as farmers continue their protest against the central governments recent agricultural reforms blocking a highway at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border in Ghaziabad on February 6, 2021.
AFP

New Delhi: Security across the national capital was strengthened on Saturday with the deployment of extra forces, and the barricades near the protest sites were tightened ahead of the planned 'chakka jam' by farmer unions who have been protesting against the Centre's farm laws for over two months now.

Farmer unions have announced a countrywide 'chakka jam' for three hours on 6 February.

The police have put up multi-layered barricades and barbed wires on the roads, and deployed water cannon vehicles along with extra security personnel on all three borders as preemptive measures even though farmers have said they will not block roads in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

50,000 personnel of Delhi Police, Paramilitary and Reserve Forces have been deployed in Delhi-NCR region to maintain law and order situation. At least 12 metro stations have also been put on alert, police said.

"Around 50,000 personnel of Police, Paramilitary and Reserve Forces deployed in Delhi-NCR region. At least 12 metro stations in the national capital have been put on alert for closing the entry and exit, in view of any disturbance," Delhi Police said.

Security at Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur borders too has been tightened by deploying extra forces and putting up multi-layered barricades, barbed wires, and nails studding the roads.

The Delhi Police's additional measures are to avoid a repeat of what happened during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day, officials said.

Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava also held a meeting with the senior officers of the force and reviewed the security arrangements.

After the 26 January violence that had left over 500 security personnel injured and one protester dead, Shrivastava had accused the protesting union leaders of betrayal and breaching their agreement as thousands were alleged to have deviated from their decided routes for the tractor rally.

Tens of thousands of farmers atop tractors had broken barriers, clashed with the police and entered the city from various points to lay siege to the Red Fort and climb the flagpole on Republic Day.

Learning from the 26 January incident, heavy deployment of police personnel can now also be seen at the Red Fort and in the Minto Bridge area, a preventive measure keeping the 'chakka jam' in mind. Barbed wires have also been placed over police barricades in Delhi's ITO area.

Elaborating about the security arrangements, Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said that in view of the violence that took place on 26 January, the Delhi Police has put in adequate security arrangements at the borders so that miscreants are not able enter the national capital.

"We are monitoring content on social media to make sure rumours are not spread against the police. The protesters are camping at the borders. We are in touch with the police force of other states also," he added.

A senior officer said that to prevent any kind of law and order situation and disruption of normal life during the 'chakka jam', adequate forces are being deployed across the outer-north district of Delhi.

The Ghaziabad district administration has also taken additional measures.

An official said the district has been divided in six sectors, and magistrates and their police counterparts have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

Farmers unions said on Friday that they will not block roads in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand during the 'chakka jam' on Saturday, even as they asserted that farmers in other parts of the country will block national and state highways for three hours but in a peaceful way.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting against the three farm laws, said emergency and essential services such as ambulances and school buses will not be stopped during the 'chakka jam' that will be held between 12 pm and 3 pm.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said there will be no road blockade in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Saturday, but added that farmers in these two states can be called to the national capital any time, and that they have been kept on standby.

Talking to reporters at the Ghazipur protest site, Tikait said farmers in small groups will submit a memorandum to district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur for over 70 days now, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws.

(With inputs from agencies)

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