On Tuesday, tensions escalated at the Shambhu border as Haryana Police took action against Punjab farmers who were attempting to enter the state for the Dilli Chalo march. Despite inconclusive discussions with Union ministers regarding their demands, including a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops, farmers persisted in their protest. This report aims to provide an overview of the events leading to the altercation and the subsequent developments.
The Dilli Chalo march, organized by Punjab farmers, has gained momentum as a form of protest against the government's agricultural policies, particularly the lack of legal assurance for MSP. On Monday, a mock drill was conducted by the police in the area, indicating preparations for potential unrest. Farmers from various districts of Punjab, including Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Bathinda, and Mansa, mobilized with tractor-trolleys, intending to converge at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders for the march towards Delhi.
As farmers attempted to breach barricades at the Shambhu border, Haryana Police intervened by lobbing tear gas shells. Prior to resorting to tear gas, the police issued repeated warnings to the farmers to maintain order. Despite these warnings, the situation escalated, prompting law enforcement to take action to regain control of the situation.
Farmers, organized into groups, commenced their journey towards Delhi from various entry points, including Fatehgarh Sahib and Mehal Kalan in Sangrur. The Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur) president reported the departure of tractor-trolleys from Faridkot district, with more expected to follow suit. Additionally, groups from south Malwa districts joined the movement, indicating widespread support for the protest.
Multiple farmer organizations, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Doaba), Doaba Kisan Welfare Committee, BKU (Ekta Sidhupur), Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, and Kisan Sangharsh Committee Kot Budha, are actively participating in the protest from Punjab’s Doaba region. Leaders from these organizations urged farmers to remain united and participate in the march collectively.
The escalation of tensions at the Shambhu border underscores the intensity of the ongoing farmers' protest and the determination of farmers to have their demands met. As the Dilli Chalo march gains momentum, it remains to be seen how authorities will respond to the growing unrest and whether further negotiations will take place to address the concerns of the protesting farmers.