‘War-like fortification’ to protect Delhi amid farmer protests

'War-like fortification' to protect Delhi amid farmer protests
Source: BBC
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Iron rods, barbed wire, nails, boulders and makeshift walls are being used to barricade borders of Indian capital Delhi against thousands of protesting farmers.

The beefed-up security – which some farmers described as “war-like” – comes amid a tense standoff with the government over new agricultural laws.

The ongoing protest, now in its third month, presents the biggest challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced.

Mr Modi’s government offered to suspend the laws but farmers want them repealed.

Last week, things turned violent when protesters and police clashed after thousands of farmers entered Delhi as part of a massive tractor rally. Dozens of police officers were injured and one protester died. Farmers’ union leaders and groups condemned the violence but said they would not call off the protest.

Instead, they have announced another march on 6 February in which they plan to block highways leading into Delhi. Meanwhile, the situation at the protest sites – Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri – has steadily worsened.

Delhi and the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh have deployed drones and officers at the sites, and have begun blocking the area around the protests, effectively cutting the farmers off from roads into the city.

SN Shrivastava, Delhi Police Commissioner, defended the barricading. “I am surprised that when tractors were used, police were attacked, barricades were broken on January 26, no questions were raised,” he told ANI news agency.

He said: “What did we do now? We have just strengthened barricading so that it’s not broken again”.

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