CHENNAI: After rejecting a government proposal on Wednesday, protesting farmers threatened to intensify their agitation against agriculture-marketing laws with a nationwide protest on December 14. If that happens, the Junior National Equestrian Championship scheduled at Delhi’s Army Polo & Riding Centre from December 20 to 31 might get affected. Around 150 riders and 200 horses are expected to take part in the event.
“We are in touch with the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) and so far the federation has not issued any advisory in the wake of the ongoing protest,” said a source, riders and horses from whose centre will take part in the event. “Horses are supposed to leave in a day or two and riders will follow them. As of now, we have not changed the plan but will reassess the situation on a daily basis to ensure safety to both the riders and horses,” added the source.
Regional equestrian leagues were conducted by affiliated state units and clubs in the past to select riders for the championship. One of the leaders of the agitating farmer also said during a press conference on Wednesday that they would block all roads leading to the national capital one-by-one if their demands are not met. This could hinder the movement of the horses as well as riders because they have to reach the venue a few days before the event starts. Horses are usually transferred in horse ambulance and even climate-controlled vans.
“We are hoping the protest to get over by the time championship begins but if that doesn’t happen then it’s a big worry. Riders from our academy will board trains while the horses will be transported in ambulances. As far as the venue is concerned, it is safe and the event is on at the moment,” said a coach from an equestrian academy. Despite attempts, EFI could not be reached.