A day ahead of farmers’ nationwide ‘Delhi Chalo’ call, Haryana began sealing its borders with Punjab by setting up barricades and even placing boulders on some roads to block protesters.
Heavy stones were placed on NH-54 (Bathinda- Dabwali road) and NH-71 (Khanauri- Jind highway).
Barricading, without boulders, has been done on the Sardulgarh- Sirsa road, Budhlada- Ratia road and even at Lalru, Shambu and Cheeka points of entry into Haryana.
A Punjab Police official in Khanauri (Punjab) said: “We are diverting traffic from alternate routes now. We are also ensuring that movement of essential goods is not affected.”
BKU (Ugrahan) members, who have been gathering at the border, plan to take NH-54 and NH-71 to enter Haryana.
“On Tuesday, farmers from Haryana had come to extend support and Wednesday. Farmers from Rajasthan’s Ganganagar, Hanumangarh districts too came to extend support at Khanauri and Bathinda-Dabwali border areas. Farmers of all states are united now. We will first request the cops to remove these stones and barricades so that we can march ahead and if they will not agree, we will sit here itself towards the Punjab side. We have democratic right to protest and hence we will do that,” said Shingaara Singh Maan, president of BKU(Ugrahan), Bathinda unit. Maan was near Dabwali Mandi border where Haryana has placed boulders to stop farmers from Punjab from entering their state.
Haryana Police’s Ambala Range IG, Y Puran Kumar, told reporters that the Shambhu inter-state border will be sealed for two days from November 26.
“Once movement of farmers takes place from Punjab side, the Haryana Police will act accordingly. So far, the border has not been sealed, those instructions are for November 26-27. But if movement (of farmers) takes place before that, we will act accordingly,” the IG said.
He said sufficient police force has been deployed to maintain law and order in the state.
Haryana Police officials said they cannot allow movement of a large number of people towards the national capital in view of restrictions due to COVID-19.
Kirpal Singh Sindhewala, Block President of Lambi unit of BKU (Ugrahan), said, “They are stopping us from going to Delhi and in Delhi they have imposed Section 144. Earlier, they had stopped freight trains as well to settle scores with farmers.
They are forcing us to agree to farm laws which are not ready to do so. It is surprising that a day before they have sealed their borders with Punjab as all unions had to cross Haryana on November 26. Now we are forced to sit here only.”
Advance jathas of farmers had already reached all the spots from where they had to enter Haryana so as to make arrangements of food well in advance.
Pointing to boulders being placed on the roads by cranes, another farmer Gurpreet Singh said: “Are we from Pakistan? The way we are being stopped from crossing Haryana. If the government is so serious about corona, they could not have brought these bills in Covid period. Isn’t it a violation on part of the PM himself? That he has invited people to come on roads.” On Wednesday, Punjab farmers also burnt effigies of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar at more than 100 places protesting against sealing of borders and also using force against Haryana farmers.
Dr Darshan Pal, working committee member of All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and president of Kirti Kisan Union, said, “We had asked for permission to organise a rally in Ramlila Maidan. We could have organised our protest at one place itself following Covid guidelines as that ground is for public and the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal himself had started his struggle from this maidan. Now all of a sudden, we are not even allowed to organise a rally here, hence we have all the right to protest and reach at whatever point we can. We will not be confronting cops at any place.”
He added, “Wherever we will sit, we will appeal to farmers from neighbouring states Haryana, Rajasthan to join us and as gatherings will start increasing at each spot, it will be a matter of botheration for NDA government. We are surprised as to why we are not being allowed to go to Delhi?”
Dr Darshan Pal said that union members will be entering via Lalru, Shambu, Cheeka — all areas from Patiala side and Budhlada and Sardulgarh from Mansa side. “The other two locations are for BKU(Ugrahan),” he said
“Delhi de layi virodh vad reha hai.. Delhi waleian layi sochan wali gall hai (Anger against Delhi is rising. Delhi must reflect on this),” said a farmer, Jagtar Singh, from Khanauri morcha of BKU(Ugrahan).
Dr Darshan Pal said that some trains are being short-terminated in order to prevent farmers from coming via trains in case police block the roads.
Farmer unions from Punjab, meanwhile, said they have tied up with doctors and have appealed to them to organise check-ups at all dharna spots on a regular basis.
Doctors from Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), said: “We also appeal to the farmers to maintain physical distance and take precautions like wearing masks and washing hands. We also appeal to the central government to consider their demands with empathy lest there is deepening of the health crises.”
(With PTI Inputs)