Punjab-Haryana border sealed, Sec 144 imposed, internet suspended

Chandigarh: Ahead of the farmers’ proposed ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on February 13, Haryana authorities have sealed the border with Punjab at Shambhu near Ambala. Elaborate arrangements are in place at the borders in Jind and Fatehabad districts to stop the march. Apprehending the disturbance of peace, the Haryana government has also suspended mobile internet services and bulk SMS in seven districts — Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa — from February 11 to 13. Amid measures by the Haryana authorities to prevent the farmers from heading towards the national capital, the Centre has invited them to hold another meeting to discuss their demands on February 12. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha had announced the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by more than 200 farmers’ unions on February 13 to press the Centre into accepting several demands, including the enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for crops. The road on the Ghaggar flyover at the Shambhu border is shut for traffic movement, with police placing cemented barricades on the road. Barbed wire, sandbags, concrete blocks barricades and other items have been stocked at the Shambhu border. View cutters and frames were also being put up at the flyover. The Ghaggar river bed has also been dug up to prevent farmers from reaching the highway. In Jind, two roads near the Haryana-Punjab border have been shut for vehicular movement and restrictions imposed on two more roads, a police official said on Sunday. In Fatehabad district, police have also put up cemented barricades and spike strips on a Jakhal road to stop protesters from Punjab moving towards Delhi. The Haryana Police on Saturday issued a traffic advisory asking commuters to take alternative routes. In the traffic advisory, police asked commuters going from Chandigarh to Delhi to take alternative routes via Derabassi, Barwala/Ramgarh, Saha, Shahbad, Kurukshetra, or through Panchkula, NH-344 Yamunanagar Indri/Pipli, Karnal. Similarly, passengers travelling from Delhi to Chandigarh have been asked to reach their destination via Karnal, Indri/Pipli, Yamunanagar, Panchkula, or Kurukshetra, Shahbad, Saha, Barwala, Ramgarh, according to police. The farmers have planned to head to Delhi from the Ambala-Shambhu border, Khanauri-Jind and the Dabwali border. Ambala and Kaithal districts have imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting the assembly of five or more people. Police have also been holding meetings with sarpanch of villages and khap panchayats, asking them not to participate in the march. SKM (Non-Political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal slammed the Haryana government for making arrangements to stop farmers from going towards Delhi. “We are ready for talks and will never run away from dialogue,” he said. On one side, talks are going on with the Centre and on the other hand, the state government is creating terror, Dallewal said, adding, “What the Khattar government is doing is unfortunate and condemnable.” He said the government had “promised” a legal guarantee on minimum support price during the stir against the now-repealed farm laws. The farmer leader said the government had “promised” the withdrawal of cases registered against farmers. Farmers were forced to move towards Delhi as their demands were not accepted by the Centre. “Why is the government scared? Huge barricading was being done. Is this democracy,” Dallewal asked. “If the situation turns bad, it will be the responsibility of the Khattar government,” he said in a video message. Besides a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), the farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases and “justice” for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. In 2020, a large number of farmers from Punjab and nearby areas of Ambala gathered at the Shambhu border and broke police barriers to march towards Delhi. The farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, held a year-long protest on Delhi’s border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — against the three now-repealed farm laws.

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