Iron nails, rods, barbed wire, boulders, makeshift walls….. These are not the visuals from a war front. This is how the largest democratic government in the world is preparing the country capital to face its farmers. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 was passed by the parliament followed by the approval of the President in September 2020. Since then, the farmers mainly from regions of Haryana and Punjab are protesting in the outskirts of New Delhi against the bill. Several rounds of discussions between the farmers and the government representatives have taken place but none of them was fruitful. The government had earlier offered to suspend the farmers’ bill as part of negotiations to end the protest but the farmers were loath as they demanded a complete abrogation.
The protestors took hold of the major highways at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri, thereby isolating the national capital. It is in the third month that the protest took a violent turn when protesters and police clashed after thousands of farmers entered Delhi as part of a massive tractor rally, on January 26th. Several injuries were reported and a protester lost his life during the commotion. The police used tear gas and water cannons along with brutal lathi-charge to oppress the rally. Media personals who reported the incidents in favour of the farmers were also arrested with sedition charges. The government has disconnected the fuel, power and water supplies to the protestors as part of oppressing the movement. The shutting down of the internet and the mobile networks by the government in and around the protest sites in order to “ensure public safety” have further fueled up the rage among the farmers.
To prevent the protestors from entering the city again, the government has deployed force at the capital borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and have begun blocking the area around the protests by placing large concrete slabs , spools of razor wire, heavy metal barricades , layers of stone boulders and embedding huge iron nails across the breadth of the roads leading to the protest sites. Only few selected vehicles are permitted to go beyond the barricading with media vehicles being strictly prohibited. With the movement gaining international attention and support as many notable faces from across the world vouched support for the farmers, it won’t be easy for the government to oppress the farmers agitation anymore.