Farmers shout slogans as they reached Singhu border from Punjab during their Delhi Chalo protest in New Delhi on Friday

Farmers


DW BUREAU / chandigarh More Punjab farmers crossed the state's border with Haryana on Friday, some of them after facing water cannons and teargas as they headed towards Delhi to join thousands who had already reached the national capital's borders. But by evening, all Haryana Police barricades at the border with Punjab and along the highway to Delhi were lifted, allowing traffic to run as before. Traffic on the highway to Delhi's and other roads was restored, with the Haryana Police removing barricades meant to thwart the "Delhi Chalo" protest against the Centre's new farm laws. "The barriers which had been put up earlier have been lifted. Vehicular traffic is plying normally," Karnal Range Inspector General of Police Bharti Arora told PTI over phone. There was confrontation earlier in the day at Shambhu border as police tried to stop farmers from Punjab from entering Ambala district. They used water cannons and lobbed teargas shells. Protesters threw metal barricades into the Ghaggar river from the bridge where they were stopped, repeating what an earlier group of farmers had done on Thursday. In the evening, however, the Haryana Police removed the barricades at Shambhu, allowing farmers to pass through on their tractor-trolleys and continue their march to Delhi. Farmers linked to the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) also broke through police barricades at Khanauri and Dabwali border points between Punjab and Haryana. Their union leaders had earlier said they will stay put at Khanauri and Dabwali, holding their protest there. But the organisation changed its stand under pressure from supporters. BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan claimed that over 50,000 farmers were heading towards Delhi from Khanauri itself. Another leader made a similar claim about farmers from Dabwali. Farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (SMSC) also began a march from Amritsar on Friday. As the new groups of Punjab farmers took the national highway through Haryana to Delhi, thousands had already reached the capital. After confrontations at Delhi's borders, during which they faced teargas and water cannons, the earlier groups were told they can enter the city and continue their protest at Burari ground. A large number of farmers had camped Thursday night in and around Panipat, before resuming their march Friday morning towards Delhi's border. BKU leaders from Punjab and Haryana, including Balbir Singh Rajewal and Gurnam Singh Charuni, said the farmers' stir has now become a "people's movement", drawing support from various sections of society. Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Pawan Khera met Charuni and other farm leaders in Panipat in the morning, and extended their support to them. Ahead of the protest, Haryana had announced sealing of its borders with Punjab to prevent farmers from entering the state on their way to Delhi. Punjab's farmers are protesting against the three new laws that deregulate sale of farm produce. They say this will dismantle the minimum support price (system). After facing tear gas, water cannons and clashing with security personnel, hundreds of farmers entered the national capital on Friday to hold peaceful protest at a north Delhi ground, but there were still thousands at border points who were undecided to go to the identified demonstration site and a clarity in their decision is expected on Saturday. Around 600 farmers protesting against the Centre's new farm laws headed to Sant Nirankari Ground, one of the biggest in the national capital, following several hours of confrontation with the police at different border points with Haryana. After a meeting between farmer leaders and senior police officers, the Delhi Police allowed protesters to hold demonstration peacefully at Nirankari Ground, but senior farmer leader Darshan Pal later said they would stay put at border points on Friday night and a decision on whether to go to the identified protest site or not will be taken on Saturday. At the Tikri border, some groups of farmers were escorted by police personnel around 3 pm amid tight security and taken towards the identified protest site. But those gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, had not entered the city till late evening. (editor@dailyworld.in)




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