Farmers at Singhu, Tikri borders stay put, most refuse to go to north Delhi protest site
New Delhi: Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre’s new agri laws stayed put at the Singhu and Tikri border points for the third consecutive day on Saturday amid heavy police presence even after being offered a north Delhi ground to hold peaceful demonstrations.
Numbers swelled at the Singhu border point as farmers gathered there were joined by more counterparts from Punjab and Haryana and they refused to move towards the Sant Nirankari Ground, one of the biggest in the national capital.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern range) Surender Singh Yadav, who took stock of security arrangements at the Singhu border, told reporters that around 600 to 700 farmers have so far reached the north Delhi ground.
Yadav said police and administration have made sufficient arrangements for the farmers at the designated protest site, adding that he hoped more would go there.
On Saturday morning, protesting farmers from Punjab and Haryana gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, held a meeting to decide their next course of action.
After the meeting, a farmer leader said they would continue their protest there at the border.
“We will not move from here (Singhu Border) and continue our fight. We will not return home. Thousands of farmers have come from Punjab and Haryana to join the protest,” he said.
Another farmer said they would sit at the border and not move to the Nirankari Ground.
“We will not go to new protest site, and we will continue our protest at the national highway,” he said.
On Friday, hundreds of farmers entered the national capital to hold a peaceful protest at the Sant Nirankari Ground after facing teargas and water cannons and clashing with security personnel while thousands remained at border points, undecided whether to go to the demonstration site identified by police.
The day witnessed police using teargas shells, water cannons and multi-layer barriers to block the protesters and the farmers pelting stones and breaking barricades in some places in their determination to push through as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s new farm laws.
Sukhwinder Singh, who has been camping at the Tikri border since Friday evening, said, “We will continue to protest here. We will not move from here. Several other farmers are yet to join us from Haryana. They are on their way. We won’t move from here and will continue our fight from here.”
Asked why they don’t want to enter the national capital despite being permitted by the Delhi Police, Singh said, “We don’t want to go to any ground provided by them in Burari.
“We want to go to Jantar Mantar and hold a peaceful demonstration there. Meetings are being held, and until the next course of decision is taken, we will continue to protest here at the border peacefully,” he added.
The farmers at the Tikri border seem to have come prepared for a long haul. They have brought utensils to cook food and are charging their phones in their vehicles.
Jagtar Singh Bhagiwander, another farmer who is at Tikri, maintained that they won’t move ahead and would continue to fight for their rights from the national highway.
“We won’t proceed towards Burari. Yesterday, soon after we were granted permission to enter Delhi, we were told to move ahead in groups of 50 people one after the other. We refused to move in groups.
“This is an attempt to separate us. If we have come together all the way crossing different borders, we will continue to stay united. As of now, we have decided to stay here at Tikri. We will continue our fight from here until further course of action is decided,” he said.
Meanwhile, more farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) will enter Haryana on Saturday for their march towards the national capital.
“Our group of farmers on tractor-trolleys will soon enter Haryana through the Shambhu interstate border,” said KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher. They had begun their march from Amritsar on Friday.
Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The Centre has invited several Punjab farmer organisations for another round of talks in Delhi on December 3.