Security intensified at Delhi borders ahead of Kisan Mahapanchayat
Farmers from across the country are expected to participate in the assembly in central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to press for demands including a law guaranteeing minimum support prices for their produce
Security and checking of vehicles have been intensified at Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri along Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh ahead of a proposed Kisan Mahapanchayat (grand assembly of farmers) in central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Farmers from across the country are expected to participate in the assembly to press for demands including a law guaranteeing minimum support prices for their produce.
The assembly is being held days after farmers congregated in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday for a 75-hour long sit-in protest and reiterated the demand for Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s dismissal. Teni’s son, Ashish Mishra, is accused of mowing down farmers protesting against the now-repealed farm laws in Lakhimpur Kheri in October last year.
Tens of thousands of farmers opposed to three agricultural reform laws enacted in September 2020 hunkered down on highways across several states for nearly 14 months and held one of the biggest demonstrations in decades. They virtually set up protest townships at five sites including Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri, and choked traffic before the government in November announced the scrapping of the laws.
The government insisted the laws will benefit farmers by giving them greater access to markets. But farm unions insisted they will leave cultivators at the mercy of corporations.
The Delhi Police have increased deployments of personnel in and around Jantar Mantar ahead of the grand assembly. They are expecting farmers in large numbers in central Delhi for the protest that may lead to traffic disruption.
The Delhi Traffic Police on Sunday issued a traffic advisory, urging commuters to avoid certain roads and plan their journey in advance to avoid any congestion. The advisory via social media also listed the roads that are likely to face traffic congestion.
“In view of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’s Mahapanchayat at Jantar Mantar tomorrow [Monday], #DelhiTrafficPolice requests commuters to plan their journey in advance...,” the police said in a tweet. “The high likelihood of congestion may be expected on roads such as Tolstoy Marg, Sansad Marg, Janpath (from Outer Circle Connaught Place to Windsor Place roundabout), Connaught Place Outer Circle, Ashoka Road, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, and Pandit Pant Marg.”
Iron barricades and concrete bollards have been placed at Tikri, Singhu, and Ghazipur borders with maximum protesting farmers expected to come to Delhi from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
On Sunday, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait was detained at Ghazipur while he was en route to Delhi. Police said Tikait was on his way to join the protest at Jantar Mantar. But his associates said his visit was scheduled for a book release in Delhi on Monday. Tikait was taken to Madhur Vihar police station, where he was requested to return and escorted back across the Ghazipur border.