Delhi Chalo march: Punjab farmers brave water cannons, push through Haryana barricades
Ambala, Nov 26: Tension spiralled at the Shambhu interstate border on Thursday as police used water cannons and teargas to disperse hundreds of farmers from Punjab who broke barricades, throwing some into the river, determined to enter the state as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' march against the Centre's farm laws.
As farmers and police faced off at a bridge with the Ghaggar river flowing below, tractors and trucks were lined up and people could be seen waving black flags and shouting slogans.
Police made announcements on loudspeakers to ask the farmers assembled on the Punjab side of the border to disperse. As smoke from the teargas clouded the air and uniformed security personnel milled around, people could be seen standing on top of trucks. Television visuals also showed some bricks lying on the road.
Some farmers tried to cross the barricades and remove them and some chucked them into the Ghaggar river. The Shambhu border point is about 200 km from Delhi. "It is condemnable that Haryana Police is using such measures to suppress an assembly of peaceful protesters. We are protesting in a peaceful manner, but they want to prevent us from using our democratic right to protest," a farmer from Punjab told reporters.
Haryana has completely sealed its borders with Punjab to prevent farmers from entering their state on their way to Delhi. Multi-level barricading has been put in many places.
Earlier on Wednesday, a large group of Haryana farmers near Mohra village in Ambala jumped over barricades following which the police resorted to the use of water cannons. A splinter group however, managed to proceed to Tiyora-Tiyori village on the Ambala-Kurukshetra border, where police again used water cannons to stop their march to Delhi.
This group of farmers, which was being led by state BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni, had reached Karnal as part of their march to Delhi. The BJP government in Haryana had earlier said it will seal its borders with Punjab on November 26-27 in view of the farmers' march to Delhi.
Delhi Police on Wednesday said it had rejected requests from various farmer organisations to protest in the national capital on November 26 and 27. A day earlier, it had said that legal action would be taken against the protesting farmers if they come to the city for any gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, have announced they will go to Delhi through several routes -- Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa.
Tension was escalating at all the border points. They assembled near the borders in tractor trolleys laden with rations and essentials for their proposed Delhi march.
Haryana authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of protesters. Farmer bodies said they will hold a dharna wherever they are stopped from moving towards the national capital.