Security personnel stand near barricades as BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait gestures during the proposed chakka jam by farmers, in solidarity with the ongoing agitation against Centres farm reform laws, at Ghazipur border in New Delhi
Peaceful Chakka Jam in Most States; Detentions in Delhi, Bengaluru
The call for a nationwide ‘chakka jam’ by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) saw big turnout in several major states.
As protesting farmers keep up the heat against the central government’s three contentious farm laws, several states on Saturday, 6 February saw farmers blocking key roads and highways in response to the call given by the farmers' unions for a nationwide 'chakka jam'.
The call for a nationwide 'chakka jam' from 12 pm to 3 pm given by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) saw response and turnout in several major states including Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, and the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The chakka jam, as decided by farmers’ unions, did not take place in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, even as the three states saw heavy precautionary measures being taken by the authorities to avoid any untoward incidents.
Several Detained as Delhi Remained Fortified; Internet Snapped at Protest Sites
Even as the call for the ‘chakka jam’ was not for the national capital, Delhi saw heavy deployment of forces and security arrangements in place to avoid any untoward incident as was witnessed on 26 January.
The Delhi Police detained several protesters who were protesting against farm laws as part of the 'chakka jam' in the Shaheedi Park area.
“Wherever we had inputs that some groups or people can execute some incidents, preventive detentions were made in public interest. Some people had reached Shaheedi Park. They were removed from the road so that traffic movement could resume,” Delhi police PRO told ANI.
Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava had earlier visited Shaheedi Park and reviewed the security arrangements.
The Red Fort was turned into a fortress with barricades and trucks loaded with mud to stop any surprise intrusion by protesters on Saturday. Cranes were used to place boulder barricades as a precaution.
The Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the suspension of internet services at Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders of Delhi for 24 hours till Saturday night, and security was also intensified in these areas.
More than 55,000 policemen had been deployed at various strategic points in the national capital.
Several metro stations including Mandi House, ITO, Vishwavidyalaya, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Janpath, Central Secretariat and Delhi Gate remained closed before being opened in the evening.
Strong Demonstrations in Punjab & Haryana Backed by Political Support
Commuters faced a harrowing time in Punjab and Haryana though the demonstrations ended peacefully. The protesters told news agency IANS that essential services like ambulances were not stopped and that in most of the toll plazas, one lane for vehicles was not blocked to ensure hassle-free movement of such vehicles.
Amid heavy police deployment at key locations in both states, farmers and protesters carrying the national flag started assembling along the highways by parking their tractor-trolleys and trucks, blocking mainly the toll plazas.
Several protest sites saw arrangements made for holding 'langars'. According to IANS, on the Rohtak-Delhi highway in Haryana, the farmers even offered food and water to stranded commuters.
The demonstrations in Punjab also received political support from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a former ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress.
Activists and leaders of the Opposition Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal, and the Haryana Democratic Front participated in the 'dharna' near the Shambhu toll plaza at the Punjab-Haryana border.
The Chandigarh-Delhi National Highway number 44 was blocked at several points in Kurukshetra, Karnal and Panipat districts.
Likewise, the protesters blocked the Panipat-Rohtak highway near Panipat, the Hisar-Chandigarh highway at Kaithal and Pehowa, and the Karnal-Jind highway near Assandh.
Peaceful Protests in Rajasthan Amid Commuter Hassles
While the central Congress leadership openly declared support for the ‘chakka jam’, Rajasthan, one of the states ruled by the Congress, too, saw peaceful demonstrations.
According to IANS, tractors were placed on roads to jam the traffic in Jaipur while in Alwar, stones and thorny shrubs were placed on roads to check the traffic on roads. In Kota, a massive tractor rally was taken out.
The Delhi-Jaipur highway was completely blocked as the lane passing through the Shahjahanapur border (Alwar) was also closed around 11 am in morning.
Former deputy CM Sachin Pilot addressed a farmers’ gathering at Bharapur as a part of the chakka jam protest. A 50-member delegation of advocates came at the protest site from Shri Ganganagar and donated Rs 80,000 for langar.
Several Protesters Detained in Karnataka, Telangana
Traffic movement was hit on the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway, while farmers partially succeeded in blocking vehicles across the state. Farmers succeeded in blocking several roads in Bengaluru which led to traffic snarls in Mysore Bank Circle, Sadahalli Gate, Devanahalli Road and Yelahanka New Police Station area.
Several demonstrators, along with pro-Kannada leader Vatal Nagaraj were detained as the police who tried to clear the roads for traffic movement.
While over 40 farmer leaders were detained in Bengaluru, close to a 100 were picked up from different parts of Karnataka, farmers unions claimed. In Hyderabad, over 25 leaders were detained in the protests organised by Samyukta Kisan Morcha and National Alliance of People’s Movements.
Major blockades were also witnessed at Mandya, Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway, Srirangapatna-Bengaluru- Mysuru National Highway, Kikkeri-Srirangapatna Hassan Highway, Nagamangala-near Bellur Cross, Mysuru-Ring road Circle, APMC Bandipalya, Mysuru National Highway near Columbia hospital, Piriyapatna National Highway, KR Nagar-Hassan State Highway, Chamarajanagar-Satyamangala Road, Chamarajanagar-Gundlupete Highway 202.
Meanwhile, a delegation of farmers from Karnataka reached the Ghazipur border near Delhi on Thursday to show solidarity with the ongoing farmers' protest. Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Hasiru Sene led by farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, met Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait and announced that nearly 4,000 farmers from Karnataka will join the protests at the Delhi borders after 6 February.
34/36 Districts of Maharashtra Witness Demonstrations
Maharashtra witnessed statewide demonstrations as protesters blocked prominent roads, state or national highways and other important thoroughfares in 34 of the state's 36 districts, including Mumbai.
According to IANS, barring the Bharatiya Janata Party, the agitation saw the participation of all major parties such as the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, the Left parties as well as farmers organisations like All India Kisan Sabha, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti and Bharatiya Kisan Sena.
The agitation was prominent in Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Pune, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Osmanabad, Yavatmal, Jalna, Beed, Latur, Nagpur, Nanded, Washim, Parbhani, Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Aurangabad and Nashik.
In Yavatmal, police detained farmers' leader and Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission President, Kishore Tiwari, who is accorded a MoS status, while leading a 'chakka jam' protest on the national highway.
(With inputs from ANI and IANS.)
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