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'Delhi Chalo' march: Haryana Police uses water cannons, tear gas to disperse Punjab farmers, border sealed


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CHANDIGARH: The Haryana Police on Thursday used water cannons and tear gas to disperse a group of farmers from Punjab who allegedly tried to jump police barricades to enter Haryana as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' march against the Centre's new farm laws.

The Haryana Police officials at the Shambhu inter-state border with Punjab used loud speakers, asking farmers who had assembled on the Punjab side to disperse when some of them tried to cross and remove the barricades.

The situation remained tense at the Shambu inter-state border on the national highway as protesting farmers threw police barricades into the Ghaggar river.

Some of the protestors were also seen waiving black flags.

Multi-level barricading has been put by Haryana Police to prevent the farmers from moving towards the national capital.

A farmer from Punjab present at the site told reporters, "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".

Earlier on Wednesday, a large group of Haryana farmers near Mohra village in Ambala jumped over the barricades following which the police resorted to the use of water cannon against them.

A splinter group had, 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 Haryana farmers, which was being led by state BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni, had reached Karnal as part of their march to Delhi.

Haryana on Thursday completely sealed its borders with Punjab as farmers from the adjoining state started assembling in big numbers as part of the Delhi Chalo march.

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.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday asserted that it had rejected requests received from various farmer organisations to protest in the national capital against the Centre's new farm laws 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.

There was heavy deployment of Haryana police on the borders with Punjab, officials said.

The Haryana Police in adequate strength has also been deployed along the state's borders with Delhi, they said.

The BJP government in Haryana had said that it would seal its borders with Punjab on November 26-27 in view of the farmers' march to Delhi.

The Delhi Police had on Wednesday asserted that it had rejected requests received from various farmer organisations to protest in the national capital against the Centre's new farm laws 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 to go towards the national capital through many routes, including Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa.

The farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws are assembling near Haryana borders with tractor-trolleys carrying ration and essentials for their proposed Delhi march.

They have also condemned the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana for sealing the state borders.

In Haryana, police had used water cannons twice in Ambala and Kurukshetra districts on Wednesday to disperse a group of protesting farmers and stop them from going to Delhi.

The Haryana authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of protesters.

Meanwhile, braving the cold and rainy conditions, thousands of farmers spend the night in temporary shelters and inside their tractor trollies.

Farmer bodies said they will hold a dharna wherever stopped from moving towards the national capital.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugarhan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan has said around 25,000 women will participate in the protest march and over 4,000 tractor-trailers have been arranged for it.

The BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) has claimed that over two lakh farmers associated with it will enter Haryana through Khanauri and Dabwali.

Farmers have brought ration, vegetables, wood and other essentials for their march.

In view of cold weather conditions, they have stocked quilts, blankets and covered their trolleys with tarpaulin.

Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni had said on Wednesday that “even if police use lathis and force, nothing can stop farmers".

"We will continue our march towards Delhi. We will force the Centre to roll back these black anti-farmer laws," he said.

Videography, including using drone cameras, is being done at the state borders with Punjab and other sensitive points.

The Haryana Police has also put up multi-layered barricades and boulders on the roads from Punjab, officials said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a detailed advisory was issued by the Haryana Police, urging commuters to modify their travel plans in view of the farmers protest march.

Asserting that farmers from Punjab will not be allowed to enter the state, police said they have deployed water cannons and riot vehicles at the state borders.

Opposition Congress in Haryana has slammed the BJP-led government for allegedly trying to muzzle the voice of farmers.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)