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Friday, July 12, 2024

“Farmers protest” drama starts all over again in Delhi

The Delhi Police have increased security at the Singhu border in the national capital ahead of the call by some farmer organization to protest at the Jantar Mantar. Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and various farmer groups have planned to organise a Mahapanchayat at the Jantar Mantar to press for demands including a law guaranteeing minimum support prices for their produce. There are also indications that these are professional protesters in search of a cause, as even ‘unemployment‘ has been added to their list of issues.

The Delhi Police said the gathering of these groups can cause traffic problems and untoward incidents across the national capital and hence they have made security arrangements.

Police personnel have been deployed across the national capital, mostly at the borders in large number. Apart from this, the Delhi Police has also put extra barricades at every borders. Dependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, said that they urge the farmers not to gather at the Jantar Mantar in the capital.

The Delhi Metro has also been put on high alert and the Police will also be deployed there.

As per official information, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait was stopped by police personnel at the Ghazipur border while he was going to Jantar Mantar. Tikait was asked to return by the police. When he didn’t budge, the police detained him and he was then taken to Madhu Vihar police station.

In late 2020, these same farmer organizations and powerful Jat Sikh clans had started strident, disruptive protests in Punjab against three farm reforms that threatened their hold over agriculture. These reforms were decades in the making and would have unshackled ordinary farmers from clutches of state monopoly, exploitative lobbies and feudal overlords. They had wide support of agriculture experts. An independent committee constituted by Supreme Court found that the silent majority of farmers, a staggering 86% of all farmer groups across the country, supported the reforms!

Soon the protests spread to Delhi’s borders, and parts of Haryana and western UP. Protest townships soon came up at Delhi border crossings like Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri, choking traffic and throwing life out of gear for lakhs of citizens for almost 1 year. Soon, the protests were joined by far-left groups and andolanjeevis like Yogendra Yadav, and Khalistani elements. The well-organised, well-funded vocal and intransigent protestors unleashed horrific violence on Republic Day last year. The protest sites saw serious crimes like rape and murder. A poor Dalit farmer was brutally lynched after being accused of beadbi (sacrilege) by Nihang Sikhs.

The threats, violence and intransigence worked. Fearing further destabilization of a border state like Punjab, the centre withdrew the much-needed reforms. Now, the same actors are back with a new set of demands. Will our state buckle to this thuggery again?

(With IANS inputs)

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