Farmers marching towards Delhi, as part of the Bharatiya Kisan Union’s protest demanding farm loan waiver to fuel price cuts, were stopped at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on Tuesday with police using water cannons and teargas shells to disperse them, reports The Times of India. The farmers, riding tractors and trolleys, broke barricades of the UP Police and then started proceeding towards the barricades put up by the Delhi Police, a senior police officer said.
Police used water cannons to disperse the protesters, who also indulged in sloganeering. Teargas was also used to disperse the crowd.
Several farmers were injured in the police action while one of the protesters lost consciousness, said an agitating farmer. They also claimed that the policemen baton-charged them.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the farmers should not be stopped from entering the capital, in context of the police action. “Delhi belongs to everyone. No one can stop the protesters from entering Delhi. The demands of the farmers are justified and must be fulfilled," he tweeted.
"It reconfirms the fact that the Modi government is anti-farmer. Instead of providing relief to the farmers, they are exasperating the crisis, by further forcing the farmers to be under the debt burden and distress suicides. We havent seen such an agrarian distress in India since independence," CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told the ANI.
Congress leader Randeep S Surjewala also criticised the police for their highhanded action.
“On the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Modi government has shown that it is no different from the pre-independence British government in India. The British government then used to exploit the farmers and today the Modi government is firing teargas shells at farmers," he said.
The Kisan Kranti Yatra, which began from Tikait Ghat in Hardwar on Sept 23, is the first of its kind by the BKU since the death of its founder Mahendra Singh Tikait on May 15, 2011. The Tikait clan, including the patriarchs four sons, their wives, grandsons and their children have also hit the streets along with others.