The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has called for a nationwide protest, will be joined by 40 farmer unions together
If directions by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) are adhered to, there won’t be any attempt to block Delhi’s highways on February 6. The ‘Chakka jam’ planned for Saturday, is to block national and state highways from 12-3 pm by farmers against three farm laws, but leaves out the Capital city.
The Delhi police is however not taking any chances, with tightening of security at the borders of the city and also inside with visuals of barricades with barbed wires being seen from ITO. Around 50,000 personnel of Delhi Police, Paramilitary & Reserve Forces have also been deployed in Delhi-NCR.
Delhi Metro was asked to be prepared to shut down a dozen metro stations on short notice. And as per plan, on February 6, the entry and exit gates of Rajiv Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Mandi House, ITO, Central Secretariat, Khan Market, Janpath, Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk, Nehru Place, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Vishwavidyalaya, Supreme Court, Ashram and Shivaji Stadium (Airport Express Line) stations have been closed.
Since January 26 clashes between protestors and police, multi-level barricading at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders with cement blocks, nails, barbed wires and extra CRPF forces had been placed. These are spots where farmers have been sitting in protest since November.
Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava also held a meeting a day before the ‘Chakka jam’ with senior police officers to review the law-and-order arrangements at these three spots. Chinmoy Biswal, the Delhi Police PRO, said police are also monitoring social media posts to keep a check on fake news and inflammatory content. “We want to make sure people don’t spread rumours… We are taking preventive measures to ensure miscreants don’t enter Delhi. We are also in touch with police from other states”.
The SKM, which called for the nationwide protest, joined 40 farmer unions together, with one of its leading voices being Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait. He has said that not just Delhi but jams will not take place in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as it is their harvest time.
For Delhi though there was a different reason cited, Tikait had said “Dilli mein hum nahi kar rahe, wahan to raja ne khud qile-bandi kar li hai humare jaam karne ki zaroorat hi nahi hai (We are not going to do anything in Delhi, the king there has already fortified it, there is no need for us to do a blockade now),” PTI quoted him saying.
In the directions passed on by the SKM, it says emergency and essential services like ambulance, school bus etc. will not be stopped. It also pleads that the Chakka jam remain completely peaceful and non-violent. Adding that protesters should not engage in any confrontation with any officers, employees or common citizens during the event.
It goes on to say that the Chakka Jam program will be concluded by playing the horn for 1 minute at 3 o’clock, indicating the unity of the farmers. It also appeals to the public to join the event to express their support and solidarity with the “food donor”.
Interestingly, the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha on Friday that the issue of opposing the farm laws was of only one state – hinting at Punjab. Most of the farmers at the three border points of Delhi hail from this agrarian state. Today’s turnout would be somewhat of an answer to who is opposed to these laws.
(With PTI inputs)
(Cover: Credit – Getty Images)