Iron spikes, barbed wire and concrete walls at Delhi farm protest sites
The Delhi police have enhanced barricades at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur where thousands of farmers are protesting against three farm laws for over two months. While the iron spikes have been placed on the road leading to the main protest site at Tikri, besides heavy metal and concrete barriers, the police have created a wall at Singhu and Ghazipur by pouring concrete between two rows of cement barricades.
The measures were taken in the aftermath of clashes between the police and the protesters when the farmers during a tractor rally on Republic Day went beyond the routes approved by the police by breaking barriers and barricades placed on the roads.
The internet connectivity continued to be disrupted at all the three borders on Monday even as more farmers from Haryana and Punjab joined the protest.
At Tikri, on the road towards Delhi, the police have overall set up a five-layer security system which begins right behind the main stage at the protest site. The first obstruction consists of two layers of iron barricades. After that, the police have joined rows of cement barricades by filling the space between them with concrete. Beyond that, the police have dug up the road and installed iron spikes. Then, there are large trailers and dumpers serving as the fourth layer. And finally, a set of iron barricades forms the fifth layer of hurdles.
“This is one of the many measures being taken to instil confidence among the Delhiites and to reiterate our commitment to ensure the safety of life and property of citizens,” said A Koan, deputy commissioner of police (outer), when asked about the iron spikes on the road.
The protest site at Singhu border also has five layers of barricades with the first one nearly 1.5 km away from the main protest site. Only police vehicles were allowed beyond this point and locals as well as media personnel were only allowed on foot after stating their purpose of visit. Most of the locals were not allowed to enter unless they had an emergency.
On Monday, police officials were seen supervising the installation of concrete barricades with a cement mixer pouring concrete between two layers of barricading near the main stage area. The two layers were also joined with iron rods in between them to strengthen the barricading further. Containers at the spot have also been used to store concrete barriers. Several routes leading to the protest site were either barricaded, closed using concertina wires, or dug up restricting movement of farmers between the two stages and cutting off supplies.
Protesting farmers at Singhu said the police were trying to “crush their movement” by setting up so many layers of barricading. Major Ram Singh, 65, a member of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee which has set up the first stage at Singhu, said, “These are efforts to break the spirit of our movement by creating hurdles in arranging for our daily needs like water and toilets. But farmers from Punjab and Haryana are reaching the agitation spot using different route and carrying supplies which we may need here.”
Buta Singh, president BKU (Ekta), Dakoda, who has been camped at Tikri border said that the government was “terrified” because of which it was resorting to placing several layers of hurdles.
“We are peacefully protesting here, so where is the need for such security measures? The police are installing iron spikes, creating concrete barricades and deploying more police and paramilitary forces. All these are efforts to instil fear among us but we are not going to let our movement die. About 1,000 more tractors are coming from Haryana and Punjab to give us strength,” Singh said.
Sudesh Goyat, a farmer at Tikri Border, said that the huge “police bandobast” showed that the police were planning some action against farmers. “They have put barricades like as if we are their biggest enemy. We are cautious that the police might use force against us even though we are protesting peacefully. We are only fighting to repel these black laws,” Goyat said.
Like Singhu, police have completely blocked the movement of the media and locals anywhere near the Tikri protest site and have also blocked many lanes in the nearby Baba Haridas Nagar colony. This led to inconvenience to a number of locals who had to go towards Haryana.
“Our half of the colony falls in Delhi and the rest in Haryana. When the police and the farmers blocked the main highway for commuting between Delhi to Haryana, we used the bylanes in the colonies to reach our destinations. But since Sunday night, the police put barricades in several lanes and blocked them. I have my shop in the Haryana side of the colony but now I further have to take a detour of more than a kilometre to reach my shop,” Pawan Dahiya, a resident of Baba Haridas Nagar colony said.