Around 600 farmers from Rajasthan tried to break through the barricades in Haryana’s Rewari on the Delhi-Jaipur highway on Sunday to march towards Delhi.
The police lobbed tear gas shells and chilli grenades to stop them. Sources in the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a joint front of farmer unions, said the group of farmers was acting on its own and the unions did not approve of their action.
Another round of talks
The incident comes as farmers’ leaders and government Ministers are set for yet another round of talks on Monday in a bid to break the impasse over the controversial farm laws, whose repeal has been demanded by farmers who continue to hold sit-ins around Delhi’s borders in pouring rain and biting cold.
Farmers belonging to Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar districts, owing allegiance to a local group of farmers and workers, broke through the first layer of barricades in Rewari around 4 p.m. to march towards Delhi, but the police managed to stop them near Masani village. This group had managed to break through the barricades at the Haryana-Rajasthan border on Thursday and travelled several kilometres towards Delhi before settling down.
“They were settled close to the first layer of barricades and managed to break through it, but a second layer was put at some distance to stop them. The police had to resort to tear gas shells and chilli grenades to stop them,” said Abhishek Jorwal, Superintendent of Police, Rewari.
SKM sources said the farmer leaders were trying to speak to the group and convince them to protest peacefully.
Aastha Modi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Headquarters, Gurugram, said a Rapid Action Force company and a substantial number of police personnel under the supervision of two Assistant Commissioners of Police were deployed at Kapdiwas to stop the farmers. She said that traffic headed towards Jaipur was being diverted at a couple of points on the Delhi-Jaipur highway in the district.
Rudra Bhanu Solanki, a motorist, said that he saw some farmers near the National Security Guards camp in Manesar.
Lending strength to the farmers sit-in at Shahjahanpur in Rajasthan on Delhi-Jaipur Highway around 4,500 farmers in more than a thousand tractors-trolleys under the aegis of Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan) reached the protest site on Sunday.
Ahead of the talks, the Working Group of All-India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee (AIKSCC) made an appeal to the Union government to not be insensitive to the farmers in its “blind commitment to serve corporates and crony capitalists”. In a press statement, the AIKSCC said the success of Monday’s talks depended on the repeal of the three controversial farm laws. “There has been much speculation about the procedure for repeal of the Acts. The AIKSCC clarifies that it can be done by an Ordinance followed by a Parliamentary repeal and the Constitution provides for the government and Parliament to make as well as repeal laws,” the statement read. The AIKSCC said that farmers at Delhi were braving the extreme cold conditions and heavy downpour, but the mood at all camps continued to be of high spirits.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni, speaking to The Hindu, said he was not very hopeful of a favourable outcome in the talks on Monday. “Just as farmers know about the yield at the time of preparation of soil, we know the outcome of the talks by looking at the faces of those involved in the negotiations. They are only interested in delaying things,” said Mr. Charuni, who is part of the farmer unions leaders talking with the government.
Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Kumari Selja said the anti-agriculture black laws introduced by the BJP government were threatening the agriculture sector. “Today, farmers and labourers are in danger and if they are in danger, the country cannot progress. This act of BJP government will be written in black letters in the history,” said Ms. Selja, addressing the agitating farmers in Haryana’s Palwal district.