NEW DELHI—Even as the farm leaders went on a dawn to dusk fast on Saturday in continuation of their agitation against the three controversial farm laws enacted by the Narendra Modi government in September last year and also to mark the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi, as many as 43 protesting farmers at Singhu border were arrested by the police, including a sword-wielding man who attacked a police inspector, when some ‘locals’ assaulted the farmers on dharna on Friday evening and vandalized the farmers’ tents.
The police inspector sustained injuries in sword attack when security personnel tried to intervene and separate the farmers and the ‘local’s vandalizing the farmers’ tents. It was surprising how did the ‘locals’ managed to reach the protest site when the police were not allowing even water tankers to the protest venue. Police had to fire teargas shells to bring the situation under control and disperse the two groups.
However, it is not known if any of the ‘locals’who came to remove the protesters, were also arrested.
Meanwhile, the crowd at all the three protest sites-Ghazipur border, Singhu border and Tikri border-swelled with appeals made by the farm leaders to their supporters in UP, Haryana and Punjab.
Students join the farm protesters at Ghazipur, Singnbu and Tikri borders
Earlier, it were only the farmers who were taking part in the sit-in. Now, the farmers have been joined by university and college students as well, particularly at Ghazipur protest site. College and university students from Punjab and Haryana villages are also reported to have reached Singhu and Tikri borders to be part of the protest.
Meanwhile, NH-24 between Ghaziabad and Ghazipur remains shut owing to farmers having gathered in huge number on both of the road after BKU’s Rakesh Tikait’s announcement that he will not leave the venue and continue the agitation.
‘Locals’ shout slogans of “Shoot the traitors” outside Yogendra Yadav’s house in Delhi
While ‘locals’ gathered at Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri protest sites on Friday asking the protesting farmers to vacate the roads, some ‘locals’ on Friday evening demonstrated outside the residence of Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, shouting provocative slogans like “desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro sa—n ko”, (shoot the traitors) allegedly inciting people to attack and shoot Yogendra Yadav. Similar slogans were raised by some politicians in Delhi when anti-CAA agitation was going on all over the country and it was a mere coincidence that large scale riots started in Northeast Delhi after these slogans.
Nine farmer leaders-Rakesh Tikait, Pawan Kumar, Raj Kishore Singh, Tajender Singh Virk, Jitender Singh, Trilochan Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Harpreet Singh and Jagtar Singh Bajwa-have been asked nby the Delhi police to join the investigations in connection with the violence on Republic Day in Delhi.
Meanwhile, heavy deployment of police force continues at all the three protest venues.