LUCKNOW: With hundreds of farmers already on the move and gathered at the UP-Delhi border to take part in tractor parade on the Republic Day, Uttar Pradesh police have sounded a high alert across the state, especially, western UP and Agra.
The UP Police brass held a meeting on Sunday evening to chalk out a strategy to tackle with the issue, a day after they foiled the attempt of hundreds of farmers' to reach Raj Bhawan in Lucknow. Meanwhile, over 100 farmer leaders were put under house arrest in west UP, while police conducted strict checking of vehicles at district borders and stopped tractors from proceeding to Delhi.
Farmer leaders alleged that fuel stations were also told by police to not give diesel to tractors. The copy of an order issued by Ghazipur districts of eastern UP went viral in which fuel pump owners were requested not to give diesel to tractors. "You must be aware that high alert has been sounded in the state and Section 144 clamped in view of the Republic Day. Farmers have also announced to take out tractor march. Therefore, you are advised not to sell diesel to any tractor or in a can...." an order issued by station officer of Sohawal police station in Ghazipur says.
Ghazipur SP Om Prakash Singh though says that the order was issued by the SO two days ago and has been withdrawn. "It was just to advise pump owners that they should give fuel only to tractors which have full fitness to minimise accidents on the highway," he said.
Barricades had been put up to stop protestors from eastern UP districts following the announcement of farmers planning to gather in the capital and protesting at Raj Bhawan. Around 16 members of BKU were reportedly put under house arrest in Mahoba. Moreover, there have been hectic rounds of discussions between the officials of the Uttar Pradesh police and farmers’ leaders at UP Gate in which all security, traffic and other arrangements were being reviewed and fine-tuned.
Sources said security arrangements were beefed up at the UP Gate protest site and the estimated number of security personnel there may reach about 5,000-6,000 in coming days. According to Praveen Kumar, inspector general (Meerut range), police officials were in touch with the farmers’ leaders at UP Gate. The IG also said that farmers would not be stopped from entering Delhi if the Delhi police would allow them to move in.
“There will be no use of force. Police personnel have been roped in from different districts in western UP, besides deployment of rapid action force and other security personnel. At UP Gate, we are working with the volunteers of the farmers’ unions to ensure that there is no movement of outsiders at the site,” he maintained.
The farmers’ leaders said that tractors have already begun their journey from different areas in UP and Uttarakhand and are expected to reach the site by January 24 or 25. The entire UP Gate area is divided into sectors and zones and is being monitored through the control room with the help of CCTVs. The police have also roped in local intelligence units to ensure that the protest remains peaceful and anti-social elements are kept at bay.