The rally by members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union has taken a violent turn with police resorting to firing water cannons and tear-gas shells to keep the angry farmers from crossing into Delhi. Several farmers have been injured while the Haryana unit chief of the BKU is unconscious after a tear gas shell exploded close to his face. Anticipating trouble, the Delhi Police have imposed prohibitory orders in east and northeast Delhi.
Miffed by the imposition of Section 144 during a “peaceful” protest, farmers’ body president Naresh Tikait said, “Why have we been stopped here (at UP-Delhi border)? The rally was proceeding in a disciplined manner. If we don’t tell our government about our problems then whom do we tell? Do we go to Pakistan or Bangladesh?” Tikait alleged that the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre had not fulfilled the demands of the farmers.
“We have organised the march to press for implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, loans waiver and scrapping the ban on plying of 10-year-old tractors in the national capital region among others,” he said. The Delhi Police are also in touch with their counterpart in Uttar Pradesh to ensure that the protesting farmers do not enter Delhi. “They have not sought any permission from the Delhi Police for the protests,” a senior police official said. The march is being organised from Patanjali (Uttarakhand) to Kisan Ghat (Delhi) between September 23 to October 2.