The Haryana government, led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, has heightened security measures across the state to prevent Punjab farmers from marching to Delhi for the ‘Delhi Chalo’ demonstration planned on Tuesday, February 13. To manage any potential disruptions, authorities have repurposed two large stadiums into temporary jails. The Chaudhary Dalbir Singh Indoor Stadium in Sirsa and Guru Gobind Singh Stadium in Dabwali now serve as makeshift prisons, as reported by the Tribune.
In anticipation of the farmers march , the government suspended internet services in several districts, including Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, and Sirsa. This suspension, which began on Sunday, February 11, encompasses mobile internet, bulk SMS, and dongle services until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, February 13. Such measures aim to control communication and coordination among protestors.
Additionally, authorities have deployed barricades and iron nails at state borders to hinder the progress of the protesting farmers. At the Data Singhwala-Khanauri border on the Patiala-Delhi national highway, one side has been blocked, with a heavy police presence, including women personnel, to enforce the blockade. Senior officials, like Hisar range Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Matta Ravi Kiran, have instructed local police to prevent the entry of Punjab farmers into Delhi on February 13.
The Delhi Police issued a traffic advisory ahead of the protest, outlining restrictions and diversions at three borders leading into the capital city. Beginning Monday, commercial vehicles face restrictions at certain entry points, with further limitations for all vehicle types starting Tuesday. Interstate buses and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are advised to take alternative routes to avoid protest areas, as specified in the advisory.
Moreover, Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been imposed in North-East Delhi and at borders with Uttar Pradesh as a precautionary measure. This legal provision prohibits the assembly of four or more people in a public place. The Delhi Police cited concerns over potential unrest and emphasized the need to maintain law and order during the scheduled protests.
Approximately 200 farmers’ unions plan to march towards Delhi on Tuesday, advocating for various demands, including a separate law ensuring Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agricultural produce and the withdrawal of cases filed against protestors during previous demonstrations. The authorities anticipate the protestors to camp at the Delhi border until their demands are addressed.
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