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Sit-in on highways outside Delhi, no plan to enter capital — farmers on tomorrow’s chakka jam

Farmer unions have scheduled a pan-India road blockade Saturday, the first big protest after the Republic Day violence in Delhi.

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New Delhi: Days after the Republic Day violence in Delhi, protesting farmers said the ‘chakka jam’ scheduled for Saturday will not be held in the national capital, but will take place outside it and in other parts of the country.

“There is no plan to enter Delhi. The blockade will be conducted on national highways, and at village and zilla levels,” Gurnam Singh Chandauni, president, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Haryana), told ThePrint.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, who has been leading the protest at Ghazipur border connecting Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, said Friday there will be no blockade in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

“There will be no road blockade in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand tomorrow, roads will be blocked in the rest of the country, excluding Delhi,” he told ANI.

The protest will start at noon and continue for three hours. 

In a statement Friday, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of over 400 farmer unions coordinating the protests in Delhi borders, said, “There will be no ‘chakka jam’ in Delhi as all the protest sites are already in chakka jam mode.”

“All roads entering Delhi will remain open except areas where farmers’ protest sites are already located,” he added.

“Only national and state highways across the country will be jammed from 12 noon to 3 pm. Emergency and essential services like ambulances, school buses etc. will not be stopped,” the statement said.

Farmer unions also said that thousands of farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders will remain where they are and the ‘chakka jam’ will only include other farmers, who will demonstrate on the roads, and stop vehicle movement on roads and highways outside Delhi. 

“We will sit at noon and get up at 3 pm. There will be no marches or rallies. It will be a sit-in protest like the ‘chakka jams’ we have conducted before,” said Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary of Punjab’s Jamhuri Kisan Sabha.

Delhi Police, meanwhile, said that since the blockade is scheduled to take place outside Delhi, no specific arrangements have been made yet. 


Also read: Sikh separatism fighting existential battle but mishandling farmer protest can add fuel


‘Blockade to be peaceful’

The capital witnessed violence during the 26 January tractor rally organised by protesting farmer unions against the Centre’s three farm laws. The violence left one protester dead and 394 policemen injured.

Asked how they will avoid a repeat of the Republic Day violence, farmer unions said the blockade will be conducted in a peaceful manner. 

“We have been protesting in Punjab months before we came to Delhi. We have conducted rail roko agitations as well as chakka jams before and there has never been any violence and not one leaf has moved. The violence on Republic Day was orchestrated by the Delhi Police and the government. We have maintained that our movement will remain peaceful,” said Sandhu.

Farmers also said that union leaders will be present on the ground to ensure nothing apart from the chakka jam takes place. 

“We will station our union leaders and committee members everywhere to ensure no untoward incident takes place like Republic Day. If anyone tries to enter Delhi and the police notices any such action, they are free to act as we are clear that we will not do anything apart from chakka jam on the roads,” said Chandauni. 

Farmer leaders said that awareness programmes have also been held in villages across Haryana and Punjab. 

“Leaders have gone door-to-door in villages to spread awareness that the movement needs to remain peaceful and protesters have already understood this,” said Sandhu.

‘No additional security measures yet’

Delhi Police said there isn’t any need for additional security yet.

“The arrangements and the personnel that are already in place will remain. This includes the security arrangements at the borders,” Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal told ThePrint.

“If there’s any additional input for any new deployment or arrangements, that will be communicated as well. But there’s no such need yet,” he added.


Also read: Canada firm, MP, PR person suspected for farmers protest toolkit tweeted by Greta Thunberg


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Chakka jam! Well. Is this type of protest constitutionally valid? In effect the “protesters” will be trampling on the constitutional rights of people like me, who will be denied the rightful use of some public spaces during that time.

    Will the media, celebrities and activists stand up for my right and vehemently denounce these forms of disruptive protests? Or will it be hypocrisy at its best, I suppose.

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