New Delhi: Even as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government tried to downplay the nationwide ‘Chakka Jam’ protests observed by farmers, the world media took note of the ‘Chakka Jam’ protests.
Armed police came out in large numbers across Delhi. Nearly 10 metro stations in central Delhi were shut down for six hours on Saturday. Many protesters said it was to create a false narrative of Khalistanis on the prowl in the national capital to create another spurt of violence at the Red Fort and other parts on the Republic Day.
• Entry and exit at 10 prominent Delhi Metro stations temporarily closed
• Multi-layered barricades, iron nails studded on roads at the protest sites on Delhi’s border
• Around 50,000 police, paramilitary, and reserve forces personnel deployed in Delhi-NCR region
• Hollywood veteran Susan Sarandon support farmers’ protest along with pop icon Rihanna, climate activist Greta Thunberg and Meena Harris
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that they have given the Modi-government time till October 2 to repeal the controversial farm laws. “After this, we will do further planning. We won’t hold discussions with the government under pressure,” Tikait said.
Fear was writ large on the people coming out of their homes to unusual security blanket covers. Fortunately, there was no violence in Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabadh in the National Capital Region (NCR). Traffic resumed late in the afternoon on the highways to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh after the 3-hour "Chakka Jam". The Police justified the massive security, saying it does not want to take any chance. All 125 entry points to Delhi were cordoned off.
The Home Ministry also ordered the suspension of Internet at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border protest sites from Friday midnight to Saturday midnight. The Haryana government shut down the Internet in the nearby towns on the borders till 5 pm. There were some clashes at the Singhu border, but the reporters could not reach the site because of the multi-layered barricades.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the agitating farmer unions, had excluded Delhi and NCR from the 3-hour national "chakka jam" on the national and state highways, but the police said it cannot trust the Morcha as its leaders had violated the routes agreed with the police for their tractor rally and resorted to violence instead of the promised peaceful rally.
The farmer unions have declared not to negotiate any further with the government, accusing it of spreading disinformation and resorting to arrests. No further talks until all those arrested are released, Tikait said, declaring that the farmers won't return home until the three contentious farm laws are repealed.
Nearly 50 protesters were detained at Shaheedi Park in the national capital. The Congress and Left parties too held protests in some states in support of the 'chakka jam' called by the agitating farmer unions. 'Rasta roko' protests were staged in Karad and Kolhapur cities in Maharashtra.
At least 40 protesters, including senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan's wife Satvasheela Chavan, were detained for holding a protest on a busy road at Kolhapur Naka in Karad in western Maharashtra this afternoon, a police official said. Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna leader Raju Shetti and others were detained briefly in Kolhapur.
In Telangana, police said several people were taken into preventive custody as leaders of opposition parties joined the farmers in 'Raasta Roko' protests.
Farmers blocked highways in different parts of Karnataka to show their solidarity, following a call given by various farmers' associations led by Kuruburu Shanthakumar. A few pro-Kannada organisations too came in support of the agitators.
The Punjab farmers, who are camping on Delhi's borders for the past 74 days, point out that they would not allow any Khalistanis in their movement.