Deadlock at Singhu as farmers block border

Deadlock at Singhu as farmers block border

New Delhi: A large part of the clashes between law enforcement officials and protesting farmers at Delhi's borders on Friday was focused on the Delhi-Haryana border at Singhu as the Delhi Police, Rapid Action Force and the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces bombarded them with tear gas shells and water cannons.

The farmers, some of them from Haryana and others who had marched all the way from Punjab, had started arriving at the border since Thursday morning for their 'Dilli Chalo' march to protest against the three farm laws enacted by the Centre recently.

Amid scenes of billowing smoke, protesting farmers as old as 70 and 80 years of age braved the force of the police with reports of at least 15 people injured in the firing. Many had to be rushed to nearby hospitals due to their severe injuries.

A 70-year-old Karnal Singh was grievously injured when a tear gas shell hit his cheek, just under his left eye. "They are continuously hitting us with tear gas shells. Modi government has left us with no choice but to protest and here they beat us up," the frail-looking farmer said.

Singh's left arm was injured while doctors were applying ointment on his injury. "We have a list of about 15 people with us. A few were taken to the hospital through an ambulance," a doctor treating injured protesters at the border said.

After having faced the brunt of the state at the border, the number of protesters at the Singhu border had swollen to thousands, with kilometres of parked tractors and trucks. By 5 pm, the Delhi Police had permitted protests at the Nirankari Ground in Burari.

But these farmers would not have it.

The farmers said they had asked permission to protest at the Ramleela Maidan. "We are not going to move from here. Either we continue at Ramleela Maidan or we stay here and block the roads. But we are not going to compromise on this," one farmer at the protest said.

"As we have mentioned that we want this bill to be scrapped and we want our voice to reach the home ministry. By putting us in that Burari ground they will suppress our voice as the whole point of this protest is for people to know what has been happening with us," another protester said.

"We will sleep here tonight and will hold a meeting in the morning to see the next course of action," Hajura Singh, a local farmers' association leader said.

"This bill is the worst thing that could have been introduced for the farmers. Through this bill, they will privatise the whole system. Our children will have nothing left. They want to leave us poor and hungry through this bill," Harbhajeet Singh, a protester from Patiala, told Millennium Post.

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