To mark their protest against the Centre’s new farm laws, a group of 200 growers reached Jantar Mantar and organised a ‘Kisan Sansad’ after Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal gave them special permission to hold their demonstration till August 9. Though the protest was to start at 11 AM, the farmers reached the venue at 12:25 PM and sat till 5 PM. “The first day of the farmers’ protest at Jantar Mantar went peacefully. In view of Independence Day and the ongoing Parliament session, we made necessary arrangements to keep the protest peaceful. We hope that we’ll get this support and coordination in future also,” Chinmoy Biswal, the Delhi Police’s PRO said.
Around 5,000 police personnel were deployed in the New Delhi district and four companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in and around Jantar Mantar. Water-cannons, metal-detector gates, two tankers carrying drinking water have also been stationed there.
“Several companies of the CRPF and the RAF have been deployed at the site. CCTV cameras have also been placed in the area,” said Deepak Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), New Delhi district.
Barricades along with metal detectors have also been placed on either sides of the venue and two water cannons have also been stationed.
The farmers alleged that they were stopped by the police at three places and their Aadhaar cards were checked. “This was harassment by the Government and even buses coming from Pakistan would have not been checked in such a manner,” said Shiv Kumar Kakka, a farmer leader.
“Two of our buses broke down en route, so police escorted us in DTC buses,” he added.
During the day, the farmers debated the changes in the APMC Act in two sessions of the ‘Kisan Sansad’. The debate also featured women and the elderly. Farmer leaders said that 200 growers will come to the protest site daily till August 13 to discuss the three laws clause by clause.