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  India   All India  17 Feb 2024  Cops fire tear gas to disperse farmers

Cops fire tear gas to disperse farmers

THE ASIAN AGE. | BHASKAR HARI SHARMA
Published : Feb 17, 2024, 2:04 am IST
Updated : Feb 17, 2024, 2:04 am IST

The standoff between the protestors and security personnel at two points on the Punjab-Haryana border entered its fourth day

A farmer at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border during their 'Delhi Chalo' protest, near Patiala district, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Several farmers' unions, including the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), have called for a Gramin Bharat Bandh or nationwide strike today. (PTI Photo)
 A farmer at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border during their 'Delhi Chalo' protest, near Patiala district, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Several farmers' unions, including the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), have called for a Gramin Bharat Bandh or nationwide strike today. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Though the third-round meeting between the Centre and leaders of protesting farmers’ unions remained inconclusive, the Centre asserted that there were some positive developments and that another round of talks will be held on Sunday.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the standoff between the protestors and security personnel at two points on the Punjab-Haryana border entered its fourth day, with farmers trying to breach past the barricades and the security forces resorting to firing teargas shells in their bid to disperse the agitators.

After the five-hour-long meeting that started late on Thursday evening and continued till about 1.30 am on Friday, Union agriculture minister Arjun Munda said the talks took place in a “good atmosphere” and there was “positive discussion”.

The minister said that the talks will continue and another meeting will take place at 6 pm on Sunday, adding that a solution will be found by sitting together.

As the deadlock persisted, the general secretary of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee Sarwan Singh Pandher urged an intervention from the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the farmers' issues.

Calling for an amicable solution, Pandher said, "A detailed discussion was held on our demands, including a legal guarantee for MSP and a debt waiver. The ministers said they need time. We want a positive result and any confrontation should be avoided. Otherwise, our programme to go to Delhi stands."

Urging the Punjab government to maintain law and order in the state, Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur expressed hope that farmers will not resort to violence and vandalism.

"I am fully confident that the talks will be cordial on Sunday as well and we will work towards a resolution of the issues," Mr Thakur said.

Meanwhile, the Gramin Bharat Bandh call by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Friday passed off peacefully. Farmers owing allegiance to different factions held demonstrations at several places in Punjab and Haryana.

Protests were also held in parts of western Uttar Pradesh. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait participated in a protest held at the Delhi-Dehradun national highway in Muzaffarnagar.

Speaking to the media, he said, "We are holding a protest for the demands, including the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report and the loan waiver, among others."

On being asked if he has any plans to go to Delhi, Mr Tikait said, "A meeting is scheduled for Saturday, where planning for the future course of action will be made."

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha reiterated that it will intensify agitation in the coming days if demands are not met soon.

A day after an uneasy calm persisted at the Punjab-Haryana border, it once again witnessed clashes between the farmers and the security forces on Friday when the protesters tried to cross the fortified border, forcing the security personnel to resort to teargas shelling for a brief time. In return, the agitators pelted stones at the forces.

After the fresh confrontation was witnessed, the Congress condemned the police action against farmers and urged the government to fulfil its promises. The party also hit out at the Haryana government, alleging it was creating impediments and committing brutality against peaceful farmers.

In Delhi, the situation remained calm. The Delhi police is on high alert and security remains tight. The two border points -- Singhu and Tikri -- between Delhi and Haryana remained closed for traffic, with a heavy deployment of security personnel in anti-riot gear.

Traffic movement is, however, allowed at the Ghazipur border with Uttar Pradesh.

The Delhi police is keeping extra vigil and has put up barricades in the central part of the city leading to the Parliament and other sensitive locations.

Tags: delhi farmers protest, samyukta kisan morcha, arjun munda
Location: India, Delhi