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Farmers Protest: Delhi-UP Borders on High Alert! Section 144 Imposed Ahead of Farmers’ ‘Delhi-Chalo’ Protest

Ahead of the farmers' demonstration known as "Delhi-Chalo" that is slated to take place on February 13, the Delhi Police has enforced Section 144 at the borders of Uttar Pradesh.

Farmers Protest: In an effort to prevent any untoward incidents and uphold law and order, the Delhi Police on Sunday enforced section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code at the borders with Uttar Pradesh in advance of another farmer agitation scheduled for February 13.

Background Information

“Information has been received that some farmer organisations have given a call to their supporters to gather/march to Delhi on 13th February for their demands of the law on MSP and others. They are likely to sit at the border of Delhi till their demands are met. In order to avoid any untoward incident and to maintain Law & Order, a precautionary Order of section 144 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, is required to be issued to save the lives and property in the area,” the Delhi Police said in an order.

Prohibition of Public Gatherings

The order states that public gatherings will not be permitted at any of the borders between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh or in the surrounding areas within the north east district’s authority. “Prohibit entering of Tractors, Trolleys, Buses, Trucks, commercial vehicles, personal vehicles, on horses etc, carrying protestors in Delhi from Uttar Pradesh. Order that the North East District Police shall make all efforts to prevent protestors from entering Delhi,” the order stated.

“Order that no person / protestor shall be allowed to bear arms, including firearms, swords, trishul, spears, lathi, rods etc. North East District Police shall make all efforts to detain these persons at the spot. Order that any person found to be acting in contravention to this order shall be liable to be punished under section 188 of the India Penal Code, 1860,” it added.

Border Sealing Operations

Ahead of the scheduled ‘Delhi Chalo‘ march, complex plans are also in place to seal the Punjab-Haryana borders in the districts of Ambala, Jind, and Fatehabad. As part of their agreement to end their protests against the now-repealed agricultural regulations in 2021, farmers pledged to demand a bill providing a minimum support price (MSP).

In addition, they want “justice” for the victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, the execution of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, waivers of farm debt, and police charges to be dropped.

Historical Farmer Protests – 2020

2020 saw a massive gathering of farmers from Punjab and the surrounding Ambala areas at the Shambhu border, who proceeded to breach police barriers and march in the direction of Delhi. The farmers, who were mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, staged a year-long demonstration against the three now-repealed agricultural rules at Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur, Delhi’s border points.

According to DCP Sumer Singh Pratap, the Haryana government had already enforced Section 144 in Panchkula, which forbids processions, protests, and the carrying of weapons. Due to expected interruptions, the Haryana Police has released a traffic advisory advising commuters to minimise their use of major roadways on February 13. To lessen possible traffic congestion, alternate routes have been recommended for commuters going between Chandigarh and Delhi.

Internet Services Disruption

In seven districts of Haryana, mobile internet services and bulk SMS services have been discontinued in an effort to control the dissemination of false information and preserve public order. Senior police officers have inspected border crossings to evaluate security measures, including the DGP of Haryana and the SP of Ambala. At the border with Shambhu, concrete barriers and road restrictions have been installed, and the Ghaggar riverbed has been excavated to make passage more difficult.

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