Farmers at the Singhu border managed to breach the barricade around 8:30am, well before noon, the time allotted for the tractor rally. The Delhi Police, in its no-objection certificate, had permitted the protest to take place between 12 and 6 pm, and also laid out a route map to follow.
Chants of ‘Kisan kanoon wapas lo’ (take back the farm laws) rent the air on the Karnal road leading to the national capital.
“We have fired tear gas shells because that was the only option left to control the crowd. This is not what was agreed upon,” a police officer at Singhu said.
Major Singh Kaisel, who is part of the protest, told ThePrint: “We will not follow this government’s route. We want to enter Delhi from the outer ring road. We won’t bow down.”
Thousands of farmers with tractors have blockaded roads at the Mukarba chowk, and have refused to follow the route map, which goes from Badli underway towards Rohini. Instead, the farmers are looking to enter the city through the outer ring road.
Police said they were trying to talk to leaders of Kisan Samyukt Morcha, an umbrella body of 41 unions that has been leading the protests, to ensure that the agreed route map is followed. The police said that if the farmers continue to march without permission, they will be detained.
“We are trying to talk to the senior farmer leaders of Kisan Samyukt Morcha … they have agreed to our route map. Today, norms have been violated. We gave them the best deal, and are still trying to maintain the law and order. Despite the talks, the numbers have risen. If they break further barricades and disrupt law and order, we have to detain them,” the officer said.
A few farmers have now threatened to “surround central Delhi”.
“We will surround central Delhi today. This can’t go on. First, they bring inhuman laws, now they give inhuman treatment. This is jung (war),” said Balwinder, a farmer who hails from Haryana.
Another protesting farmer, Harinder Singh, said, “This is inquilab (revolution). We aren’t scared of dying. The police want to sabotage our cause.”
The protesting unions have also announced a foot march to Parliament on 1 February, when the annual Budget is presented, to press for their demands including a repeal of the three new agriculture laws.
Heavy security has been deployed in view of the ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’ that will move into Delhi from the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border points.