Police block a street to stop farmers from marching to New Delhi to protest against the central government's recent agricultural reforms at the Delhi-Haryana border in Kundli on Friday.(AFP Photo)
Police block a street to stop farmers from marching to New Delhi to protest against the central government's recent agricultural reforms at the Delhi-Haryana border in Kundli on Friday.(AFP Photo)

After clashes, tear gas, protesting farmers move to Delhi’s Burari ground

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday reiterated his invitation to the protesting farmers for talks on December 3 to resolves differences.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Meenakshi Ray | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 09:56 PM IST

Thousands of agitating farmers, after braving water cannons and clashing with security personnel, on Friday reached Delhi’s Burari ground after police allowed them to hold peaceful protests. The farmers, who were part of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s three farm laws, were escorted to the national capital by the police amid tight security.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday reiterated his invitation for talks on December 3 to resolves differences. Tomar had on Thursday assured that the talk will have a positive outcome as he appealed to the farmers to not agitate.

Also read | Dilli Chalo: Why angry farmers want to storm New Delhi

Delhi Police agreed to let the farmers stage a peaceful protest inside the Capital after initially blocking them on the outskirts and firing tear gas and water cannon at them. They allowed the farmers to hold their protest at north Delhi’s Nirankari Ground - one of the biggest grounds in the national capital. However, farmers gathered at the Singhu border have not entered the city so far.

The agitating farmers were let in soon after Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava announced that they will be allowed to enter and continue with their demonstration peacefully at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the city’s Burari area. “They will have the permission to protest at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the Burari area,” Shrivastava was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Also read | Centre has not ruled out a law to guarantee MSP, hints Narendra Singh Tomar

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said that the farmers were headed to the Burari ground after their demand to hold their protest at the Ramlila Ground was rejected by the Delhi Police. “We’ve crossed about 10 barriers on our way. We’re thankful to the administration for giving us permission to protest. We’re happy and only want a peaceful resolution to the issue,” a farmer told ANI.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Police used tear gas at the Singhu border to disperse the protesting farmers who were trying to head towards the national capital. Farmers also pelted stones at police and broke barricades in an attempt to enter Delhi amid heavy deployment. Plumes of smoke were seen as security personnel used multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse the protesting farmers at this border. The marching farmers clashed with police at the Tikri border and also tried to remove a truck, which was placed as a barricade, by tying it to a tractor with the help of a chain.

Opposition criticism

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the move to allow the agitating farmers to enter Delhi and continue with their stir. Singh also renewed his appeal to the Centre to initiate talks with the farmers to resolve the issue that has been raging for over two months now.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that no government in the world can stop them from fighting the ‘battle of truth’. “The PM should have remembered that whenever the ego hits the truth, it is defeated. No government in the world can stop the farmers fighting the battle for truth. The Modi government has to accept the demands of the farmers and black laws will have to be withdrawn. This is only the beginning!” Gandhi’s tweet roughly translated from Hindi read.

His sister and Congress party’s general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also lashed out at the Centre and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should implement “one nation, one behaviour”, in an apparent jibe at his suggestion for “one nation, one election”.

Legislators of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also extended their support to farmers protesting the Centre’s farm laws and said these “dark laws” must be withdrawn. They said that the farmers, mainly from Punjab, reached Delhi after “much struggle”. “Farmers are coming from Punjab, Haryana and other states to protest against farm bills. For our farmer brothers, the Delhi government has made arrangements for water and other facilities,” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party also tweeted.

Traffic, Metro services

Delhi Metro services resumed on all lines on Friday evening after they were interrupted for few hours at several locations due to the ongoing protest march by farmers. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) added that services will be regular on all lines on Saturday.

Traffic was disrupted in many parts of the city due to the farmers’ protest. Delhi Traffic Police on Friday posted a series of tweets, asking people to avoid outer Ring Road, Mukarba Chowk, GTK road, NH-44 and Singhu Border in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by farmers from Punjab against the farm laws.

“In view of the rally/ march/protest by All India Kishan Sangharsh co-ordination committee, the traffic police is diverting traffic from Mukarba Chowk & GTK road. Traffic is very very heavy in this area,” it said.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana marched towards Delhi against the Centre for clearing three farm laws - The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. While the government claims that the laws will eliminate the role of middlemen and ensure fair prices to farmers for their crops, the farmers contend the legislation would make them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations.

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