Farmers gear up for rallies to Delhi on Republic Day
Thousands of farmers protesting at multiple locations in Rewari and Dharuhera against the farm laws will carry out a tractor rally via two different routes skirting Gurugram on Republic Day. Another set of farmers who reached the city are also seeking to hold a rally on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, despite being denied permission, and said that they would park their tractors and march to Delhi on foot, if stopped by the police.
The march will include farmers camping at Jaisinghpur Khera on the Haryana-Rajasthan border, Sangwari Chowk in Rewari and Masani village near Dharuhera. Earlier, the tractor rally was scheduled to take place on the outer ring road in Delhi. However, farmer leaders from the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha and police officials decided on other routes for the march in light of security concerns.
Farmers from Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and several other states have been protesting at Jaisinghpur Khera, located near Shahjahanpur in Alwar district since December last year. Another group of farmers is camping at Dharuhera, while farmers from Mewat are carrying out protests at Sunehra-Junehra, on the Haryana-Rajasthan border.
Farmers have been protesting against the three new farm laws, which were passed by the Centre in September last year. They fear that the new laws will leave them at the mercy of big corporations and end the minimum support price (MSP) for important crops.
Two different routes have been decided by different farmer groups for the march. The set of farmers marching from Jaisinghpur Khera (Shahjahanpur border) will proceed towards Manesar via NH48 and return. On the other route, protesting farmers from Sangwari Chowk will move towards the KMP Expressway from Panchgaon and reach Dhansa border in Delhi, at the Badli toll.
Sanjay Madhav, state convener, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Rajasthan, said that farmers protesting at Shahjahanpur would proceed towards Manesar via NH-48. “Around 9am, we will start marching from the protest site with our tractors. We will march till Manesar and return from there. The protest will be peaceful and we do not want any confrontation with the police,” said Madhav.
He said that the parade would be a historic one, with the participation of farmers from Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab, among others. Madhav added that around 60% of the farmers will continue their protest at the site while the remaining 40% will take part in the tractor march.
Naresh Mehlawat, a protestor from Rewari, said that farmers will start marching from Madan and take the KMP route after Panchgaon. ‘We will move towards Delhi on Tuesday morning and will return in the evening,” said Mehlawat.
Naveen Sohlot, a farmer from Bawal, said that farmers would be marching till Manesar and returning. He said that over 2,000 tractors had already reached Dharuhera. “We will start marching from Dharuhera around 9.30 in the morning via NH-48,” said Sohlot.
He said that tractors participating in the march will have tableaux demonstrating the farming practices of different states.
Another group of farmers, who arrived in Gurugram on Monday, is seeking to move towards Delhi from Bilaspur Chowk connecting to NH-8. However, police officials said that permission for using this route has not been granted and protesters would only be allowed to hold the march within the city.
Satnarayan Nehra, head of Nehra Khap of Haryana, said that farmers who had already reached Gurugram will move towards Dhaula Kuan on NH-8 on Tuesday. “We have arranged 50 tractors from Gurugram and will start gathering at 8am at KMP Expressway, which touches Bilaspur. From there, we will move towards the NH-8. If the police do not allow us, then we will park the tractors on the highway and march towards Delhi from Sirhaul border on foot,” he said.
Rajesh Kumar, deputy superintendent of Bawal, said the police had given permissions to the protesters and will allow them to cross Kapdiwas border connecting to Gurugram. “After that, the Gurugram police has marked routes and will allow them to reach KMP Expressway from Panchgaon and many will return from Manesar,” he said.
Kumar said at least 1,200 personnel of Rewari police have been deployed on the stretch to maintain law and order situation.
Astha Modi, the deputy commissioner of police (headquarters), said, “We have deployed 4,000 police personnel in different shifts, at the borders, KMP Expressway and inside the city to control the traffic movement and monitor the law and order situation. With the high volume of protesters, they have to manage the route until they enter Badli, which is in Jhajjar’s jurisdiction,” she said.