New Delhi: Defying barricades, braving tear gas, water cannons and clashing with security personnel, thousands of farmers entered the national capital on Friday to hold peaceful protest at a north Delhi ground. However, thousand others are still there at border points who were undecided to go to the identified demonstration site. Also Read - Farm Laws Stir: Police Stop Congress Workers With Water Cannon in Punjab; Hooda, Other Leaders Detained in Haryana
Nearly one thousand farmers protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws headed to Sant Nirankari Ground in Burari, one of the biggest in the national capital, following several hours of confrontation with the police at different border points with Haryana. Also Read - Deadlock Continues as Centre-farmers Talks Remain Inconclusive, Next Meet on Jan 19
Farmers allowed entry Also Read - Top 5 Headlines of The Day: BKU Leader Quits SC Panel, Anna Hazare to Launch Hunger Strike on Farmers' Issues And More
After a meeting between farmer leaders and senior police officers, the Delhi Police finally on Friday at 3 PM allowed them to enter Delhi to hold demonstration peacefully at Nirankari Ground. Reacting to police brutality, these protesting farmers at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border pelted stones and broke barricades as they clashed with the Delhi Police which used tear gas shells to disperse them.
Talks with farmers on Dec 3
Breaking silence over the matter, the Central government urged the protesting farmers to end their agitation with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar saying the government is ready to discuss all issues with them.
Earlier in the day, Tomar said the new farm laws will bring a tremendous improvement in farmers’ lives. He said the government was already engaging with various farmer bodies and they have been called for discussions on December 3.
No jail for farmers
In the meantime, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government denied permission to the Delhi Police to convert the city’s stadiums into temporary jails in view of the protest by farmers against the new farm laws.
While rejecting the police’s request, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said every Indian citizen has the constitutional right to protest peacefully for which they cannot be put in jails.
The Delhi government also welcomed the protesting farmers as their guests and made elaborate arrangements for their food, drinking water and shelter. Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha said he had made arrangements for drinking water at the site on the directions of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, had announced they would go to Delhi through several routes — Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa. These protesting farmers assembled near the borders in tractor-trolleys laden with rations and essentials for the march.
(With inputs from agencies)