As thousands of Punjab farmers moved closer to New Delhi on Thursday, the Delhi Police enhanced deployment of security personnel, stationed sand-laden trucks and water cannons and used barbed wire for fencing at the Singhu Border to prevent the protesters from entering the national capital.
IMAGE: Police stand guard on the Singhu border as farmers march towards Delhi as part of Delhi Chalo protest against the farm reform bills, in New Delhi, on Thursday. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo
Police said they will not allow the farmers protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws to enter Delhi if they reach the borders of the national capital.
By late evening, a large number of protesters from Punjab and Haryana were close to the national capital, prompting the Delhi Police to close traffic movement at the Singhu Border in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by farmers from Punjab against the farm laws.
Traffic movement was also closed from Bahadurgarh towards Delhi on Thursday evening, officials said.
Five sand-laden trucks and three water cannons have also been stationed at the Singhu Border to stop tractors being driven by the protesters.
Also, drones have been deployed to keep a tight vigil to maintain law and order, police said.
Another officer said barbed wire fencing was used at the Singhu Border near the first barricade so that the protesters do not break the barricades put up by security personnel.
In order to prevent farmers from entering Delhi, police deployment was made at NH-24, DND, Chilla Border, Tigri border, Bahadurgarh border, Fridabad border, Kalindi Kunj border and Singhu border.
There has been heavy police deployment at the Singhu Border through which there is a possibility that farmers coming from Punjab and Haryana can enter the city.
To take stock of the situation, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava visited the bordering areas and said protesting farmers will not be allowed to enter the national capital.
“Due to COVID-19, guidelines have been issued in which political gathering is not permitted here and for this, their (the farmers’) request was rejected.
“If they still make an attempt, we have deployed personnel at the borders to not let them enter the national capital. We are also in contact with Punjab and Haryana Police,” he said.
Asked about commuters facing inconvenience, the Delhi Police chief said, “Since they (protesting farmers) have already blocked the national highway, they are going to be some problems, but we will try to sort it out as soon as possible… Instead of coming to the national capital, they (farmers) should go back and not break any guideline.”
Delhi Metro services from neighbouring cities to the national capital will remain suspended on Friday in view of the “https://www.rediff.com/”Delhi chalo”https://www.rediff.com/” protest march.
However, metro services will be available from Delhi towards the NCR sections, they said.
Taking to twitter, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Thursday said, ‘Update for tomorrow (Friday). As advised by Delhi Police, Metro services will be available only from Delhi towards the NCR sections.
‘However, services from the NCR stations towards Delhi will not be available due to security reasons till further notice.’
Also, people coming to the national capital from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh faced traffic snarls at several border crossings as police personnel on Thursday intensified vehicle checking in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by Punjab farmers against the Centre’s farm laws.
Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, have announced they will go to Delhi through several routes — Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa. Tension was escalating at all the border points.
They assembled near the borders in tractor-trolleys laden with rations and essentials for their proposed Delhi march. Authorities in Haryana have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of the protesters.
Farmers’ bodies said they will hold a dharna wherever they are stopped from moving towards the national capital.
Punjab farmers are demanding the repeal of the new farm laws, which, they said, should be replaced with another set of legislations framed after wider consultation with the stakeholders.
They also want a guarantee on the minimum support prices.