It has been over a month since farmers from various parts of the country converged in and around Delhi, protesting three contentious farm laws. Multiple rounds of dialogue with the Central government has failed to produce concrete results, and a fresh round of talks will be held today. Not much has however changed. In an incident reminiscent of the way the protests began, a farmers group's attempt to march to Delhi was met with tear gas as the police attempted to disperse them.
Visuals that have since been shared thousands of times show the altercation taking place in near darkness. According to a PTI report, the Haryana Police had fired teargas canisters to thwart a march of a group of agitating farmers towards Delhi at Masani barrage in Rewari district. The incident took place on Sunday evening.
Reportedly, farmers who had been camping on a service lane of the Delhi-Jaipur highway for a few days broke police barricades put up near Bhudla Sangwari village and then started moving towards Delhi in the evening. When the farmers' group reached Masani barrage where the barricades were put up, police used teargas to disperse them.
While the incident has garnered sharp criticism, it is not the first report of its kind. On December 31, a group of farmers had broken police barricades at the Shahjahanpur border with Rajasthan, trying to move towards the national capital. There too, the police had used teargas and water cannons to stop them. And at the very beginning, before the sit in protest could even begin, the police had used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the farmers marching towards Delhi - a move that had proved outrage both in India and abroad.
Monday will mark the seventh round of talks between the protesting farmers and the government. The previous round, on December 30 had seen a consensus being reached on two of the four issues between protesting farmers and the Central government. The consensus was reached with regards stubble burning and safeguarding power subsidies. However, the deadlock continues over the two main demands, legal assurance on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and complete rollback of the three farm laws.
(With inputs from agencies)