Police in Haryana used water cannons and teargas to disperse hundreds of farmers from Punjab, determined to enter the state as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the federal government’s farm laws.
Tension prevailed at Shambhu interstate border as farmers broke barricades, throwing some into the river in a face off at a bridge over the Ghaggar river.
Tractors and trucks were lined up, with people standing on top waving black flags and shouting slogans.
The Shambhu border point is about 200 km from Delhi.
“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,” a farmer from Punjab told reporters.
The BJP government in Haryana has completely sealed its borders with Punjab to prevent farmers from entering their state on their way to Delhi.
Delhi Police on Wednesday said it had rejected requests from various farmer organisations to protest in the national capital on November 26 and 27. It had warned legal action against the protesting farmers citing the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, have announced they will go to Delhi through several routes, and tension was escalating at all the border points. Farmer bodies said they will hold a sit in wherever they are stopped.
Farmers are demanding the repeal of the new farm laws, which they said should be replaced with another set of laws framed after wider consultation with stakeholders. They also want a guarantee on the minimum support prices.