Chandigarh: Bracing tear gas and water cannons, another batch of a large number of protesting farmers from Punjab on Friday breached the massive blockades comprising huge boulders, barbed fence and mounds of earth on the Bathinda-Dabwali road to enter Haryana on their onward march to the national capital.
The farmers were led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta-Ugrahan.
Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of farmers belonging to the Kisan Sangharsh Committee started their journey from Jandiala in Amritsar district towards Delhi via Haryana.
A day earlier both groups had positioned themselves in their respective areas.
Riding more than 4,000 tractor-trailers and nearly 1,500 buses, besides cars and motorcycles, the farmers, comprising women and children, started marching towards Delhi after breaking barriers at Dabwali and Jind in Haryana.
An advance team of farmers, largely the youth, has been taking the lead of the rally, which is 10-15 km long, to clear the blockades erected by the police to make way for the protesters to move ahead without obstructions.
“We just managed to break a multi-layer police barricade on the border despite the use of water cannons by the Haryana Police,” protester Zile Singh said.
Earlier in the day, a large group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana continued their “Delhi Chalo” march from Panipat and almost reached the national capital. Marching through Haryana where they were joined by an equal number of local farmers.
Amid the protest, ‘langar’ preparations by special committees were underway to feed the scores of farmers.
Expressing solidarity, farmers have got thousands of litres of milk in the morning from Punjab and Haryana villages.
“We have enough ration with us to support the protesters in Delhi at least for two months,” said protester Rajinder Kaur.
A huge contingent of the police comprising the Rapid Action Force has been deployed at all entry points in Haryana, while residents of several towns located along the Punjab-Haryana border faced a harrowing time due to the heavy deployment of the security forces and snapping of the bus services in the past 24 hours.
The farmers affiliated to 33 organisations are part of the United Farmers Front, an all-India body of over 470 farmer unions that will participate in the indefinite protest in the national capital.
Farmers protesting against the farm laws have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate entities.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has once again reiterated that voices of the protesting farmers “cannot be muzzled indefinitely” and the “Centre should initiate talks”.
“The voice of farmers cannot be muzzled indefinitely. Centre should immediately initiate talks with the Kisan Union leaders to defuse the tense situation at the Delhi borders.
“Why wait till December 3 when the situation is getting out of hand now?” a tweet by Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral quoting Amarinder Singh said.
In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister said the Central government “needs to show statesmanship and accept the farmers’ demand for assured MSP (minimum support price), which is the basic right of every farmer”.
“If they can give verbal assurance, I fail to understand why they can’t make it a legal obligation of the Government of India.”
“Those claiming it is the Congress that’s instigating the farmers are blind not to see the lakhs of farmers trying to enter Delhi from across the country. It is a fight for their lives and livelihoods and they don’t need any backing or provocation,” the Chief Minister added.