Farmers’ Plan To Cross Haryana Border

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'Makeshift Tanks', Iron Sheets: Farmers' Plan To Cross Haryana Border

The operator cabin of the JCB has a small grill for the handler to see.

The protesting farmers from Punjab have rejected the Centre’s proposal to buy three types of pulses, maize and cotton at the old MSP and their march to Delhi will continue tomorrow. The police and paramilitary forces have geared up to stop the convoy with multi-layer fortifications at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana and other checkpoints that lead to the national capital.

Concrete barriers, barbed wires and large shipping containers are part of the multi-layer blockade by the administration. The cops have cemented nail strips on the highway to stop the movement of tractors and other vehicles by the farmers. Four years ago, farmers in large numbers had camped at various Delhi borders for months and the cops, anticipating a similar scenario, had taken such measures. 

Makeshift “Tank”

The farmers have created a makeshift “tank” to counter the measures and continue their ‘Dilli Chalo’ march. The first day of the protest saw intense protests, with tear gas shells fired by the police to disperse the farmers. Their resourceful approach includes a JCB Poclain Machine, used for digging and excavation, mounted on a tractor, with the operator cabin covered with iron sheets to protect the person from tear gas shells and rubber pellets. The protesting farmers believe the tear gas shells and rubber pellets will be ineffective in front of the “iron shield”. The operator cabin of the JCB has a small grill for the handler to see. 

Farmers had covered their faces with layers of cloth to avoid inhalation of smoke emanating from the tear gas shells. Going a step further, a huge number of sacks have been soaked in water and will be thrown on the gas shell to stop the smoke. 

‘Crossing The River’

The Haryana Police have installed metal sheets to block both sides of the highway that leads to Delhi at the Shambhu barrier over the Ghaggar river in Ambala. Expecting that the farmers will cross the river, the cops have dug up the river bed to stop the movement of tractors, trolleys and other motor vehicles. 

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Farmers have loaded their trolleys with soil-filled sacks to make a temporary bridge to cross the river bed. Visuals show at least seven trolleys loaded with sacks. The temporary crossing can be used as a ramp for the tractors to cross the fortification. 

The aerial visuals show several layers of police barricades with personnel wearing helmets, and knee and chest pads to protect themselves from stone pelting, which was seen on the first day of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ march. Farmers said they would peacefully resume their march towards Delhi. “We want to appeal to the government to not use force against us. We want to protest peacefully,” farmers told NDTV.

Talks Fail, March Resumes

Protesting farmers rejected the government’s proposal of a five-year contract to buy maize, cotton and three types of pulses at the old minimum support price. 

The announcement by the protesting farmers came hours after the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of farmer unions, which is not part of the current protests, also criticised the MSP proposal. 

Laying out the reasons for rejecting the proposal, farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said in Hindi, “The government proposed (on Sunday night) and we have studied it. It doesn’t make sense for the MSP to apply to only two or three crops and for the other farmers to be left to fend for themselves.”

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