No untoward incident during 3-hour ‘chakka jam’

New Delhi, Feb 6: Protesters on Saturday blocked several key roads in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, while scattered demonstrations were held in several other states during a three-hour ‘chakka jam’ called by the farmer unions agitating against the Centre’s new farm laws.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait declared that their protest on Delhi’s outskirts will continue till October 2 and an effort will be made to “connect every village” with the agitation.

Nearly 50 protesters were detained at Shaheedi Park in the national capital, amid stepped-up security by authorities which suspended internet at the protest sites of Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri as well as adjoining areas for 24 hours till Saturday night and closed entry and exit facilities at 10 prominent Delhi Metro stations for few hours.

Scores of protesters were also held by police as they stalled traffic on roads in parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting the three farm laws, had said on Friday that the peasants across the country will block national and state highways for three hours between 12 noon and 3 pm, barring in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Tikait claimed inputs had been received regarding some “miscreants trying to disrupt peace” during the ‘chakka jam’.

“Because of these inputs, we had decided to call off the ‘chakka jam’ in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” the 51-year-old Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader, credited with reviving the farmers’ stir, said.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere during Saturday’s protest.

Raising slogans against the Centre, many farmers parked their tractor-trailers or squatted in the middle of roads in Punjab and Haryana, blocking several highways. Rustic farmer songs blared from speakers and people perched atop truck-tractors hoisted the Tricolour.

Biscuits and fruits were distributed to the protesting farmers sitting on the road. Those coming to the stretch with their vehicles were politely informed about the protest and requested to turn back.

Authorities in the national capital and elsewhere had intensified vigil on Saturday in the light of the violence during the farmers’ tractor parade on January 26 in Delhi.

In Rajasthan, farmers at many places stalled traffic on the highways and main roads and held demonstrations, police said. ‘Rasta roko’ protests were staged in Karad and Kolhapur cities in Maharashtra. Protests were also held in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.

In Telangana, police said several people were taken into preventive custody as leaders of opposition parties joined the farmers’ protest. Farmers also blocked highways in different parts of Karnataka to show their solidarity. A few pro-Kannada organisations too came in support of the agitators.

The demonstrations were held in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kolar, Koppal, Bagalkote, Tumakuru, Davangere, Hassan, Mangaluru, Haveri, Shivamogga and Chikkaballapura and protesters courted arrest in some parts of the state.

The Congress and Left parties too held protests in some states in support of the ‘chakka jam’ called by the agitating farmer unions. – PTI