Upset over the violence in Delhi during Republic Day’s tractor rally, a group of villages in Haryana have asked farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws to vacate the nearby highway. The police had to step in to stop another flare-up.
The villagers have given the protesters an ultimatum — asking them to vacate the highway within 24 hours. The langar or community kitchen for the protesters has been shut and there is heavy police presence in the area.
The protest at Karnal, Rewari, has been on for nearly two months. The farmers have been camping on the Delhi-Jaipur highway near the Masani barrage.
The protest, say locals, has been causing them endless trouble. Their supply of electricity and water is hampered and there is no freedom of movement due to the blockade on the highway. Even the standing crop in the fields is suffering.
On Wednesday morning, residents of 15 villages around Masani barrage held a panchayat and reached the area and demanded that the protesters leave and the police had to intervene to stop the argument.
“Some of the sarpanches from Rewari came and they have objections about the farmers jamming the highway. We held talks with both sides and the administration suggested that they should take the NH-71 if they wish to go to Delhi,” said a senior officer of the local police.
The action of protesters in Delhi – the violence across the city and the events at the Red Fort — “shameful”, the villagers said.
For the Republic Day’s tractor rally, a section of framers’ groups had broken barricades and started the rally ahead of time. Violence too place in several areas – including outside the police headquarters at the ITO ad the iconic Red Fort. In several areas, the police had to use batons and tear gas to control the protesters.
Most farmer groups, including the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, have said that the violence is the result of conspiracy to “sabotage” the movement.
Today, two farmer groups – the Kisan Sangharsh Committee and the Bhanu faction of the Bharatiya Kisan – withdrew from the protest.