Farmer leaders claimed on Friday that the Delhi Police has allowed farmer unions protesting against the new agricultural laws to take out a tractor parade in the national capital on 26 January. However, the Additional Public Relations Officer of Delhi Police Anil Mittal said, “Our dialogue with the farmers is in the final stages”.
Thousands of farmers have been demonstrating at various borders of the national capital since 26 November. Most of the farmers are from Punjab and Haryana. The farmers demand that the three controversial agricultural laws be repealed. According to the protesting unions, more than two lakh tractors are expected to participate in the parade and the rally will have around five routes. The tractor parade will be held at 12 noon after the Republic Day parade ends at Delhi’s Rajpath.
Abhimanyu Kohar, the senior member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the main organization of protesting unions, claimed that the Delhi Police has allowed farmers to take out a tractor parade in the national capital on Republic Day. After attending a meeting between the unions and the police, Kohar said that tractor parades would begin from the Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri borders of Delhi.
Farmer leaders said that in-principle approval has been given to five routes and farmers will travel up to 100 km on tractors on each route. He said that 70 to 78 percent of the routes would be in Delhi while the remaining routes would be outside the national capital.
Sources said that one possible route for a tractor parade from Singhu Border would be Gandhi Transport Nagar. From here the parade will take place through Kanjwal and Bawana areas and will return to the protest venue.
He said that the peasants on the Tikri border would start their parade from the protest venue and it would be going through Nangloi, Najafgarh, Badli, and Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway. Farmer leader Darshan Pal said that the barriers imposed on Delhi’s borders will be removed on January 26 and farmers will enter the national capital and take out tractor rallies.
Another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni told reporters that since thousands of farmers will take part in this parade, there will be no one route. Meanwhile, the unions have set up a control room in view of the 26 January parade.
A farmer leader said that 2,500 volunteers would be deployed to facilitate the movement of tractors. Their number can be increased according to the crowd.
Kirti Kisan Union president Nirbhay Singh Dhudike, who chaired the meeting of farmers unions of Punjab, said that more than one lakh tractors are expected to come from the state.
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav told that the barricades would be removed on 26th and farmers would enter Delhi. There has been an agreement between the police and the farmers about the route of the tractor parade. Yadav said that the tractor parade will be peaceful and historic. Yadav said that the Farmers Republic Parade will be taken out on 26 January. The barricades will be removed and we will enter Delhi. He said that we will carry out our historic parade peacefully. It will not have any effect on the Republic Day parade or security arrangements.
Farmer leader Yudhveer Singh said that processions will be carried out from Singhu to Kanjhawla, Tikri to Nangloi, Najafgarh, Dasna, Ghazipur to Apsara, Ghaziabad and Kasna. He informed that the procession will not be taken out on Outer Ring Road. Police raised the question of safety from the tractor procession here, on which the farmers agreed. He informed that at least one and a half to two lakh tractors will be included in the procession.
Amidst all this, the agitating peasant leaders have been adamant on their demand for a complete repeal of the laws on Saturday as well and said that at present they are fully focused on the tractor parade to be held on 26 January. He said that a strategy will be taken up only after the tractor parade.
Farmer leaders met on Saturday to review the Central Government’s proposal to postpone the implementation of the laws for 18 months, but no consensus was reached.