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Farmer protests continue amid fortification of Delhi borders

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
February 03, 2021 01:52 IST
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With multi-layered barricading, iron nails on road, barbed wires, iron rods between cemented barriers and deployment of DTC buses and extra personnel on ground, the tremendous security cover at and near the farmers' protest locations have now become sites of unusual attraction.


IMAGE: Iron spikes placed by Delhi Police at Ghazipur border to keep farmers from entering the national capital during their ongoing protest against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo

The strengthened security measures at the agitation sites across the borders come after the violence during the Republic Day tractor parade by protesting farmers' in which 394 security personnel were injured.

Even media persons covering the agitation manage to reach the protest sites with difficulty as they first have to pass through checking and then cross multiple layers of barricading.

A Bharatiya Kisan Union office-bearer at Ghazipur border, which now resembles a highly-secured fortress, said despite the odds, supporters from far-off places are reaching the site to express solidarity with farmers.

IMAGE: Barricades set up at the Delhi-UP Ghazipur border to stop farmers from marching towards the national capital. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo

"Andolan to hota hi hai mushqil mein, aaraam se kaun sa andolan hota hai (A movement happens in adverse conditions only, it never happens in comfort)," BKU's Uttar Pradesh unit spokesperson Pawan Khatana told PTI.

He said so far supporters from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand have come to Ghazipur, while small groups of people from states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar too have reached here.

"But what does this security arrangement by the government mean? Layers of barricading, iron nails on road, barbed wires all around us. Forget humans, nobody keeps even animals in this manner," Khatana, also the BKU's Meerut Zone chief, said.

IMAGE: Tractor trolleys of farmers parked at Ghazipur border. Photograph: PTI Photo

At Singhu border, Delhi Police, along with paramilitary forces, are stationed in large numbers along with multilayered barricades.

Palwinder Singh, a protesting farmer from Amritsar district in Punjab said the Internet ban was to disconnect the farmers from the public.

"The government banned Internet and blocked the roads with concrete dividers so that the public would not get any information regarding the protest and no one would turn up here.

"We are facing issue of interest, however, food and water supply is as fine as earlier. The sanitation facility is also normal," he said.

IMAGE: Commuters take an unconstructed road to cross the Singhu border area due to road blockades by security personnel. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

Workers under the watch of police personnel on Monday were seen hooking iron rods between two rows of cement barriers on a flank of the main highway at the Singhu border to further restrict the movement of protesters agitating against the Centre's new farm laws at the site.

Another portion of the highway at the Delhi-Haryana border is practically blocked now as a makeshift cement wall has come up there.

Taking to Twitter, the Delhi Traffic Police alerted commuters about the closure of borders and suggested alternative roads for travel.

IMAGE: Enhanced security at Singhu Border. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

Security has also been tightened at the Delhi-Ghazipur border, where protesting farmers are also camping for over two months.

'Ghazipur border is closed. Traffic diverted from NH 24, NH 9, Road no 56, 57 A, Kondli, Paper market, Telco T point, EDM Mall, Akshardham & Nizammudin Khatta. Traffic is heavy on Vikas Marg, IP Extention, NH 24. Pl(ease) commute from other borders,' the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.

According to the police, Delhi-Ghazipur border remains closed for traffic due to the farmers' protests. The commuters are suggested to take alternate routes via Anand Vihar, Chilla, DND, Apsara, Bhopra and Loni borders, it added.

"Singhu, Saboli, Piau Maniyari borders are closed. Auchandi, Lampur, Safiabad, Singhu school & Palla toll tax borders are open. Pl(ease) Take alternate route(s)," the traffic said in another tweet.

The police said traffic was diverted from NH-44 and suggested commuters to avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK road and NH 44.

IMAGE: Mobile water tanker at Ghazipur border. Photograph: PTI Photo

On Monday, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivastava and other senior police officers visited Ghazipur border to take stock of the security arrangements.

Security arrangements continue to be strengthened at the Delhi-UP border site, which is galvanising farmers from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, days after an emotional appeal by Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.

Drones have also been deployed to monitor the protesters.

Delhi Police chief defends heightened security

Meanwhile, Srivastava on Tuesday defended the heightened security measures, saying the force has 'strengthened' barricades so that they cannot be broken again.

IMAGE: A trench dug by the police as part of security enhancements at Ghazipur border. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo

"I am surprised that when tractors were used on January 26 to attack policemen and barricades were broken, no questions were raised at that time. What have we done now? We have just strengthened the barricades so that they are not broken again," he said.

The Delhi Police had registered 44 FIRs against protesters in connection with the violence and arrested 122 people.

The Delhi Police chief also visited the police personnel who were injured during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic day, and lauded them for exercising utmost restraint in the face of 'violent' behaviour while persuading the farmers to follow designated routes.

Srivastava asked the personnel to be prepared for tougher duties ahead and stressed upon practising riot control drills and giving due consideration to personal safety, while facing any demonstration.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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