The Shiromani Akali Dal on Friday appealed to its workers to reach the three main farmers’ protest sites near Delhi – Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur – to support the agitation against the central agriculture laws, and alleged the centre has been trying to “crush” the protests by unfair means.
The appeal comes on a day when around 200 people clashed with the protesting farmers at the Singhu border – the epicentre of the agitation – demanding they cleared the area. They threw stones and vandalised tents erected by the farmers. Two policemen were injured in the violence.
It is unclear how these people entered the highly cordoned off area.
“I know a large number of you have been camping on the Delhi borders since the last two months. However, the central government is making attempts to crush the Kisan Andolan in league with the BJP government of Haryana. We must ensure this nefarious design to silence the voice of the annadaata (farmers) and disrespect the sacrifice of eighty martyrs does not succeed at any cost,” party leader Bikram Singh Majithia said in a statement.
Tension also rose at the Delhi-UP border on Thursday night when the local administration deployed a large contingent of security personnel and asked the protesting farmers to clear the area. The farmers, led by influential union leader Rakesh Tikait, however, refused to budge.
“The Akali leader also condemned the crude attempts being made to suppress the Kisan Andolan by letting loose lumpen elements on peacefully agitating farmers at Ghazipur yesterday during the course of which Kisan leader Rakesh Tikait was targeted. He said similar attempts were made at Singhu today,” the statement read.
The farmers are protesting the three laws that – they say – will make them vulnerable to corporates and will hit their incomes. The government says the laws will provide more avenues to farmers to sell their crops and will eliminate the role of middlemen.
The agitation that had been largely peaceful descended into violence on Republic Day, as thousands of protesters deviated from the routes permitted for their tractor rally and barged into the heart of the national capital. Breaching barricades with their vehicles, they clashed with the police that tried to stop them; hundreds of personnel were injured in the chaos. The protesters also stormed the iconic Red Fort, where they hoisted a religious flag, triggering outrage.
Farmers’ Unions have distanced themselves from the violence and have alleged a conspiracy to malign their agitation.
The Delhi Police have registered over two dozen cases over the violence during the tractor rally.