Delhi-UP Border Tense As Cops Try to Remove Protesting Farmers
Farmers during their protest against the farm laws at the Ghazipur border in New Delhi.
A volatile situation has developed at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur as farmers protesting against the Centre's contentious farm laws, were asked to end their protest and vacate the road. The Ghaziabad administration, which gave the order, plans to clear the road by tonight, sources said. But the farmers have refused to budge, with farmer leader Rakesh Tikait declaring that he is ready to face bullets.
"The Supreme Court has justified the peaceful sit-in," Rakesh Tikait said. "There has been no violence on the Ghazipur border. Despite this, the government is adopting a repressive policy. It is the face of the Uttar Pradesh government," he added.
The Ghazipur border had been sealed since the protest by farmers demanding the repeal of the started on November 26. On Tuesday, the farmers had broken barricades and taken out their tractor rally.
Chaos was unleashed across the city as the farmers deviated from the designated route. Violence broke out in parts of the city as the police tried to stop them. A group still made its way to the Red Fort, in what they said was a message to the Central government.
Uttar Pradesh has taken a hard line on the farmers protesting against the farm laws since.
On Wednesday night, the Baghpat administration got a protest site vacated in the district, but denied using force. "We did not use any force to remove the protesters. The elderly people, including a mentally unsound person, were sent to their homes," said Baghpat Additional District Magistrate Amit Kumar Singh.
The administration said it had received a request from the National Highways Authority of India, over its pending construction work in the area.
Protesters were asked to go at smaller protests in Mathura and Fatehpur as well.
In BJP-ruled Haryana, farmers who had been protesting for nearly two months in Karnal, were told to go. The locals gave them a 24-hour ultimatum.
The farmers have claimed that the violence on the Republic Day was the result of a conspiracy to malign them. The government, they said, was trying to "break" their peaceful protest.
Today, Rakesh Tikait demanded a judicial inquiry into the events at the Red Fort.
"Deep Sidhu, who was involved in the incident at the Red Fort, has been socially boycotted," he said, referring to the Punjabi actor and activist, whom farm leaders have accused of being responsible for the violence.
He has been named in a First Information Report and the Delhi Police is looking for him over the Sikh religious flag hoisted at the Red Fort.
Earlier, the government had drawn a blank when it asked the Supreme Court to put a stop to the rally, arguing that it would be an "embarrassment to the nation".
The Supreme Court, which earlier pointed out that the right to hold peaceful protests has been granted by to the Constitution, had left the decision on the rally to the Delhi Police, saying it was a matter of law and order.