Farm laws protest: Punjab farmers march towards Delhi, Haryana plays spoilsport


New Delhi, (UNI) Farmers from Punjab on Thursday headed for the National Capital to protest against three recently enacted farm laws but had an arduous journey as they were stopped forcefully at various points in Haryana, which led to violence and political blame game.

Hundreds of farmers have managed to wade through the blocked highways in Haryana and are moving towards the National Capital. The farmers unions and organisation have till yet not called off their "Delhi Chalo" protest.

At the time of filing of report, the farmers had reached Panipat, nearly 85-km-away from the National Capital.

But it won't be easy. Delhi's borders, particularly with Haryana, are dotted with security forces while all vehicles crossing the borders are being thoroughly checked.

Drone surveillance is also being carried out to monitor the movement of vehicles towards the National Capital.
Beginning their march, the farmers were first stopped at the Shambhu inter-state border by the Haryana police as the Manohar Lal Khattar government had sealed its borders with Punjab in view of the protest.
But the agitated farmers jumped the barricades. The situation went out of control when some farmers threw police barricades into the nearby Ghaggar river.

To pacify the situation, police had to use water cannons and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. As per a UNI correspondent, the farmers, after a nearly two-hour standoff with the police, farmers somehow managed to enter Haryana.
They tried to sneak into Haryana from different places. Hundreds of them entered from Hansipur in Haryana by breaking the police barricade at Sardulgarh in Mansa district.

Barricades were placed at every entry point including Sirsa district near Dabwali town of Punjab, Tukar border of Pehowa in Kurukshetra.
Injuries were reported when the police tried to use force on the agitating farmers.
At every check point, police appealed through loudspeakers to not to assemble in large numbers, but all requests fell on deaf ears.
Farmer bodies said they will stage protest wherever they are stopped from moving towards the National Capital.
The march received a massive response from the women, children and youth.War of words
As the images of Haryana police and Special task force using water cannons on the agitating farmers spread on the social media, a twitter spat broke out between Punjab and Haryana CM.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh strongly condemned Haryana's forcible attempts to stop the farmers. Urging the Khattar government to allow the agitated farmers to pass through the national highway to take their voice to Delhi peacefully, the Chief Minister questioned the need to stop them from proceeding.
"Why is @mlkhattar govt in Haryana stopping the farmers from moving to Delhi? The tyrannical use of brute force against peacefully protesting farmers is totally undemocratic & unconstitutional," he tweeted, asserting that "the hands that feed the nation deserve to be held, not pushed aside."

The Chief Minister urged the BJP central leadership to direct their state governments not to indulge in such strong-arm tactics against the farmers. "Let the farmers be heard by the central government, let their concerns be addressed, he said, calling for peaceful resolution of the farmers’ concerns in national interest", he averred.
Responding to Capt's remarks, Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar accused him of only focusing on tweeting rather than direct talks.

"I've been trying to reach out to you for the last 3 days but sadly you decided to stay unreachable - is this how serious you are for farmer's issues? You're only tweeting and running away from talks, Why?", Mr Khattar wrote on Twitter.
He further charged Mr Singh of inciting the innocent farmers. "Time for your Lies, Deception and Propaganda is over - let the people see your real face. Please stop putting the lives of people in danger during the Corona pandemic. I urge you to not play with the lives of the people - at least avoid cheap politics during the time of pandemic", he added.

But the war of words didn't end here.
Sharply reacting to Mr Khattar's remarks, Mr Singh, in a Twitter post, said that he is shocked to read the Haryana CM's response. "Shocked at your response @mlkhattar ji. It's the farmers who've to be convinced on MSP, not me. You should've tried to talk to them before their #DilliChalo. And if you think I’m inciting farmers then why are Haryana farmers also marching to Delhi?", the Punjab CM said.

As Mr Khattar accused the Punjab CM of disturbing peace especially in pandemic times, Capt said that it was BJP-led central govt that pushed through those Farm Laws amid the pandemic, uncaring about the impact they'd have on our farmers. "Why didn't you speak out then ?," he questioned.
Punjab's 26/11

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, too, lambasted the Haryana government's action on farmers.'Today is Punjab's 26/11. We are witnessing the end of the right to democratic protest. @Akali_Dal condemns the Haryana govt & Centre for choosing to repress the peaceful farmer movement,' Mr Badal said through social media.
Mr Badal's wife and former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that it is "Murder of Democracy" on the Constitution day. She appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct Mr Khattar to let the farmers' march on peacefully to convey their issues to the Centre.

Terming the farm laws as "anti-farmer", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that instead of withdrawing the laws, the government is using water cannons on farmers. "Peaceful demonstration is their constitutional right", he said.
Delhi Metro suspended its services from neighbouring cities to the National Capital.