Delhi Chalo: With tableaux against agri laws, men, machines march to capital for Republic Day show of strength
Routes have been finalised after heated discussions between farmers and police officials, who are on high alert. Numbers are difficult to estimate, but thousands are set to march on Delhi, NCR roads.
NEW DELHI: The stage is set for one of biggest rallies to be held in India. Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are on their way to the national capital to take out their tractor parade on Republic Day, in protest against the new agriculture laws.
Routes have been finalised after heated discussions between farmers and police officials, who are on high alert. Numbers are difficult to estimate, but thousands are set to march on Delhi and NCR Roads after the official Republic Day parade.
While the Delhi Police finally announced the route of the rally, its Uttar Pradesh counterpart tied itself in knots by issuing a circular advising fuel pump owners not to tank up tractors ahead of the kisan parade.
“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 (their) tractor march. Therefore, you are advised not sell diesel to any tractor or in a can...,” an order issued by the SHO of Sohawal police station said.
As the order, a copy of which went viral, came in for criticism from netizens, the UP Police hastily withdrew the circular. Ghazipur SP Om Prakash Singh, though, said the order was issued two days ago and has been withdrawn.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.
The UP Police also held a meeting on Sunday evening to chalk out a strategy to tackle the issue, a day after they foiled an attempt by hundreds of farmers to reach Raj Bhavan in Lucknow.
Over 100 farmer leaders were put under house arrest in western UP, while police conducted checking of vehicles at district borders and stopped tractors from proceeding to Delhi.
There were hectic discussions between police officials and farmer leaders at UP Gate to finalise security, traffic and other arrangements. Sources said security was beefed up at the UP Gate protest site.
However, IG (Meerut Range) Praveen Kumar said farmers would not be stopped from entering Delhi if Delhi Police allow them.
“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 volunteers of farmer unions to ensure there is no movement of outsiders,” he said.
Tableaux to depict protest against agri laws
The tractor march will also feature a number of tableaux from across states depicting village life, the protest against the Centre's contentious farm laws, and hailing their courage, according to organisers.
A farmer leader told PTI that directions were issued to all organisations participating in the protest to prepare tableaux for the parade.
"Around one lakh tractor-trolleys from across the country will participate in the parade. Around 30 per cent of these will have tableaux on different themes, including the history of the farmers' movement in India, the role of women farmers and farming practices followed in different states," he said.
A few children from Maharashtra's Vidarbha region have also planned a tableau on farmer suicides.
"Children of farmers who committed suicide are expected to participate in the parade. Their tableau will depict the hardships faced by farmers of the region that faces water scarcity," a member of Swaraj India said.
Tableaux from states like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand will show how fruits and vegetables are cultivated in the hilly regions.
Participants from Punjab and Haryana will showcase traditional and modern farming technology and statues of women milking cows and farmers driving bullock carts.
Each tractor will carry a tricolour and there will be folk music and patriotic songs.
A member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a joint front of the protesting farmer unions, said the parade is likely to start from the five border points of Delhi -- Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur, Palwal and Shahjahanpur -- where farmers have been camping since November 28 last year.
The tractor parade will start after the official Republic Day parade concludes at Rajpath and cover a distance of more than 100 kilometers before culminating around 6 pm, he said.
A war room has been set up at each protest site to ensure effective coordination during the parade.
There will 40 members, including doctors, security personnel and social media managers, in each of these rooms, the SKM member said.
Around 40 ambulances will be stationed along the route to attend to any medical emergency.
Another farmer leader said around 2,500 volunteers have been deployed to ensure that the parade remains peaceful and no untoward incident takes place.
The volunteers have been given badges and identity cards.
Farmer leaders said only five people will be allowed on a tractor and strict vigil is being maintained to thwart any criminal activity.
A team of ex-servicemen participating in the protest will also keep an eye on the security situation.
A team of mechanics has also been formed to carry out any repair work in case the need arises.
Farmer leaders asked all participants to carry jackets and blankets to shield themselves against the cold.
"Everyone has to return to the starting point after the parade," one of the leaders said.
The Delhi Police has agreed to remove the barricades at Singhu and Tikri to let farmers enter the national capital.
Farmer leaders said the tractor parade will remain peaceful will not affect the official Republic Day parade in any way.
Farmers flock to Delhi, Mumbai for tractor rally and Raj Bhavan march
Farmer leaders said tractors have begun their journey from different parts of various states and are expected to reach the site soon.
According to Delhi Police, about 12,000-13,000 tractors are already parked at various border points — 7,000-8,000 at Tikri, 5,000 at Singhu and 1,000 at Ghazipur —and the number is expected to go up. Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana are also moving towards Delhi borders in tractor trolleys to join those who have been protesting for over two months, demanding that the three laws be repealed.
A farmer leader said farmers from Karnal, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Rohtak, Fatehabad and Bhiwani in Haryana have left for Delhi.
In Punjab, farmer unions have held several tractor rallies across the state to mobilise people for the parade.
Women have also been taught how to drive tractors.
The protesters at Delhi borders will be joined by around 3,000 farmers from Rajasthan, who are planning to turn up in the traditional dress of their state.
Although not in person, they will be joined in spirit by nearly 50,000 farmers of Maharashtra, who will march to Raj Bhavan in Mumbai and submit a charter of demands to the governor on Monday.
Farmers from across the state, including 20,000 from Nashik, are marching on foot to Mumbai where they will take part in the rally from Azad Maidan to the Governor House, organised by All India Kisan Sabha. NCP president Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and other Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders will address a mega rally at Azad Maidan on January 25 and participate in the march. (Inputs from Harpreet Bajwa in Chandigarh, Rajesh Asnani in Jaipur, Sudhir Suryawanshi in Mumbai)
U’khand: Posters warn BJP leaders
As farmers agitation continues in Delhi-NCR region against newly framed farm laws, a village
in Uttarakhand has banned entry of BJP members, workers and leaders in the village.
Posters, banners and hoardings have come up in Malpuri village of Udham Singh Nagar district warning the ‘anti-farmer’ BJP workers and leaders. The state BJP leaders were not available for the comment.
Cong MP alleges ‘attack’ at Singhu
Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu was allegedly assaulted, pushed around and his turban pulled off in what he described was a “murderous attack” by some “mischievous elements” at the Singhu border.
The Ludhiana MP’s vehicle was also damaged at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Memorial where he had gone with Congress’s Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and party MLA Kulbir Singh Zira.
(With PTI Inputs)