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Tractor parade: Protesters erect machans to keep watch on crowd; tight security at the national capital

The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha also said that the parade will not enter central Delhi and it will start only after the official Republic Day parade on Rajpath concludes.

Published: 26th January 2021 03:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2021 09:34 AM   |  A+A-

Farmers on their tractors during the ongoing protest against the new farm laws at Ghazipur border in New Delhi Monday Jan. 25 2021. (Photo | Parveen Negi/EPS)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: The farmers at Delhi borders are employing their time-tested wisdom to ensure that no miscreant creates disturbance at the protest venues.

They have erected machans (platform used for observing farmland) at some of the protest sites and are keeping an eye on the movement of people, especially at night.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police stated that they have asked the protest leaders to stay alert. 

One of the first such machan has come up at Tikri border where a group of farmers are keeping a close watch on the people’s movement. A farmer leader Amarjit Singh said they were just employing their field experience.

“We make these machans in our fields in order to scare away birds and stray animals from destroying our crops. Also, our armed forces make similar platforms to keep a vigil on the borders. On the same lines, these platforms have been erected at our protest sites and the police have also praised our effort.”

Meanwhile, sources said that a youngster was caught at Tikri border with a pistol and handed over to the police.

ALSO READ | Farmers' rally: Hundreds of women to drive tractors, make their presence count

Significantly, several farmer leaders have recently alleged there is a “plot” to disrupt their tractor rally on the Republic Day and also a “conspiracy” to kill their four leaders.

The farmer leaders claimed they had caught a youth who was allegedly in police uniform and purportedly confessed he was part of a group of 10 people who had been instructed to create disturbance during the tractor rally by opening fire in the air. 

The youth had also created disturbance at the Kisan Mahapanchyat of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar in Karnal.

The farmers had handed over the youth to the Haryana Police, but he later claimed that he had made those “false” statements as farmers threatened him. 

Tight security layer in national capital

The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 41 unions leading protests against the Centre's farm laws, said their tractor parade will not enter central Delhi and it will start only after the official Republic Day parade on Rajpath concludes.

The unions said around two lakh tractors are expected to participate in their parade, which will move into the city from three border points--Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur (UP Gate).

According to the unions, there is no limit on vehicles.

Patrolling has been intensified at power substations in Delhi following a threat from the banned Sikhs for Justice outfit to disrupt the city's supply during the Republic Day celebrations.

An official said around 6,000 security personnel have been deployed to maintain vigil.

Facial recognition systems have also been set up at vantage points for suspect identification, the official said.

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The security personnel are keeping a hawk-eyed vigil over Rajpath, where President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be celebrating the occasion along with other dignitaries and thousands of people.

Checking and frisking at Rajghat will be done by personnel in PPE kits, with mask and face shield, keeping in line with COVID-19 protocols, the official said.

A five-layer security cover has been deployed in and around the city to maintain law and order, a senior police officer said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal said more than 6,000 police personnel have been deployed at Rajpath for the Republic Day celebrations.

Following COVID protocols, only 25,000 people will be allowed to attend the ceremony at Rajpath as opposed to over one lakh spectators who usually attended the event every year, he said.

The parade will be shorter this year.

Instead of marching up to the Red Fort, the parade will end at the national stadium.

ALSO READ | Victory of farmers' movement is certain: Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda

Only tableaux will be allowed at the Red Fort, he said.

"We have 140 CCTV cameras on the Republic Day parade route and along the enclosures.

We have identified and set up facial recognition systems at 30 spots on Rajpath from where the public would enter.

"This system is fed with a database of nearly over 50,000 people, including that of suspected terrorists, criminals and anti-social elements," said another senior police officer.

According to an advisory, no traffic will be allowed on Vijay Chowk from 6 pm on Monday till the parade is over.

Rajpath is already out of bounds.

No cross traffic on Rajpath intersections from 11 pm on Monday at Rafi Marg, Janpath, Man Singh Road till parade is over.

To maintain law and order during the farmers' tractor parade, thousands of security personnel have been already deployed at several border points.

Deependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence), claimed on Sunday that over 300 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan to disrupt the tractor parade.

The traffic going towards the NH-44 and the GT Karnal Road will be diverted from Singhu Shani Mandir, Ashok Farm/Janti Tall, Hamidpur, Sunderpur Majra, Zindopur Mukhmelpur, Kadipur, Kushak Colony, Mukarba Chowk and GTK Depot," Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Meenu Chowdhary said.

The second batch of vehicles will start from the Tikri border and pass through Nangloi, Baprola Village and Najafgarh, excluding Phirni Road, Jharoda Border, Rohtak Bypass (Bahadurgarh) and Asoda Toll Plaza, Chowdhary said.

Police said the traffic will be diverted from different points.

ALSO READ | No question of redrafting three farm laws, repeal them: Trinamool to Modi government

Traffic will not be allowed to enter on the Rohtak road from Kirari Mor and will be diverted towards Mangolpuri.

It will also be diverted from Ghevra Mor towards Khanjawala, they said.

Tractors from the Ghazipur border will cover some portion of the NH-24 from where they will take a right turn to Road Number 56, ISBT Anand Vihar, Apsara Border, Hapur Road, Bhopura, IMS College, Lal Kuan and Ghazipur Border, police said.

Hundreds of women farmers are also expected to drive tractors.

Farmer leaders have appealed to those participating in the parade to carry enough ration for 24 hours and ensure that the rally remains peaceful.

"No one should carry any weapon or drink alcohol. Banners carrying inciting messages are not allowed," a farmer leader said.

Enacted in September last year, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the minimum support price and do away with the 'mandi' system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

Delhi Police NOC for tractor parade caps number of participants, allocates fixed time slot

The Delhi Police has given a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the tractor parade with 37 conditions, including capping the number of participants and allocating a fixed time slot, officials said on Monday.

According to the NOC, the parade has to be restricted to the permitted routes only, and no dharna, demonstration or sit-in protest should be held on the parade route.

Only 5,000 people on as many tractors will be allowed to participate in the parade in Delhi, and it shall be held within the prescribed time slot of 12 pm to 5 pm on Tuesday, it said.

The organisers shall carry all the permissions granted in original and show them to any police officer on demand.

Farmers leaders Darshan Pal, Rajinder Singh, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Buta Singh Burjgil and Joginder Singh Ugraha shall be available during the proposed tractor parade for liaison and coordination, the advisory said.

ALSO READ | Modi government's policies forcing farmers to take out tractor parade on Republic Day: Gehlot

The NOC states that organisers should ensure deployment of 2,500 volunteers along the prescribed routes.

The details of the volunteers have to be provided to the police in advance, it mentioned.

As per the NOC, the organisers will also have to ensure that participants in the tractor parade do not consume any intoxicating substance or indulge in disorderly conduct.

There should be no obstruction on the roads, and the parade should move from the starting point to the terminal point without any addition of tractors or other vehicles along the route, the advisory said.

Tractors that break down during the parade cannot be replaced, it added.

Emergency vehicles such as those of the fire brigade and the police and ambulances must not be stopped, or movement of essential goods and services obstructed, the advisory further said.

The organizers shall not use metal rods for flags or banners and wooden sticks not more than two metres in length may be used for the purpose.

The dimensions of flags shall be nine feet by six feet or smaller.

No objectionable flag/banner/poster of any kind should be displayed/posted/carried by any of the constituent of the parade, it added.

The route of the parade has been decided by the Delhi Police and adequate arrangements have been made to maintain law and order, a senior Ghaziabad police official said on Monday.

No route chart has been issued for it by the Ghaziabad police, the official said.

Giving route details, BKU Uttar Pradesh president Rajbir Singh Jadaun told PTI that the rally will start at 11 am on Tuesday from the Ghazipur border and reach Akhshardham temple in Delhi.

From there, tractors will take a U-turn from a flyover and will proceed towards Dilshad Garden in Delhi and then Apsara Cinema on the Ghaziabad border.

It will enter Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad district via Mohan Nagar GT road, Meerut road trisection and reach Duhai, he said.

The rally will then proceed towards UP Gate through Dasna from the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Jadaun said.

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Police force has been deployed on all the routes to maintain law and order, the police official said.

Farmers from Modinagar, Meerut and Baghpat of Uttar Pradesh may go back to their destinations from the Meerut road trisection.

Tractors and protesting farmers will reach UP Gate- Ghazipur border after culmination of the rally, Jadaun said.

The police said that 1,000 constables, 500 head constables, 300 sub-inspectors, 50 inspectors, 12 circle officers, 400 traffic constables, 14 traffic sub-inspectors, five traffic inspectors, a company of the RAF, six companies of the PAC have been deployed in Ghaziabad district in view of the rally.

Intelligence units have also been pressed into service to keep extra vigil on anti-social elements who may join the rally to create nuisance, they said.

Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani said that entry of heavy vehicles has been banned from 8 pm Monday till the culmination of the Republic Day parade in Delhi.

Parking at metro railway stations has been closed till 2 pm Tuesday.

Ghaziabad district has been divided into six zones and 11 sectors for management of law and order, officials said.

Zonal and sector magistrates have been deployed.

Fire tenders and teams of the health department have also been deputed on all the routes, District Magitrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said.

Hundreds of tractor-borne farmers stopped from proceeding to Delhi: Police

The Mathura police on Monday claimed it has persuaded hundreds of tractor-borne farmers against proceeding to join the parade in Delhi and made them return home.

Mathura Superintendent of Police (Rural) Shirish Chandra said hundreds of Delhi-bound farmers from Mat, Baldeo, Bajna, Raya and Goverdhan areas of the district agreed to halt their tractor journey to the national capital and return home on long persuasion by the police.

As a precautionary measure, the police force had been deployed on the Yamuna Expressway and other routes leading to Delhi, he said.

He said farmers' attempts to reach the Yamuna expressway were foiled without any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, farmer leader Buddha Singh Pradhan, a former district president of the Tikait group, on Monday condemned the alleged indifferent attitude of union government towards farmers.

He said the agitation would not be withdrawn unless three farm laws enacted by the centre are repealed.

(With PTI Inputs)



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