Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the government over barricades and road blocks set up at farmer agitation sites on Delhi’s borders, and asked the Centre to “build bridges and not walls”. Farmers’ protest sites at Delhi’s borders have turned into fortresses, with police beefing up security and strengthening barricades.
Iron rods have been hooked between two rows of cement barriers on a flank of the main highway at the Singhu border to further restrict the movement of protesters agitating against the new farm laws. Another portion of the highway at the Delhi-Haryana border is practically blocked as a makeshift cement wall has come up there.
At Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, there are multi-layer barricades to stop the movement of vehicles. Barbed wire has also been put up to keep off people on foot. “GOI, Build bridges, not walls!” Gandhi said on Twitter, posting pictures of barricades and road blocks at farmer protest sites.
The Congress has been demanding that the Centre should talk to the protesting farmers and repeal the three farm laws, against which they have been protesting. Farmer unions on Monday announced a countrywide ‘chakka jam’ on February 6, when they would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
At Delhi’s border with Uttar Pradesh, police have placed concertina wires between four layers of yellow barricades to stop farmers from crossing over into Delhi by the Ghazipur-Meerut highway.
Last week, Rahul Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “weakening” India by “attacking” farmers. “PM is weakening India by attacking our farmers and workers. Only anti-national forces will benefit,” Mr Gandhi had tweeted.
This morning, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the government over the issue.
The government and protesting farmers have not been able to break the deadlock over the controversial farm laws despite multiple rounds of talks.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at several border points into Delhi since November-end, demanding repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support system for their crops.
Enacted last September, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major ‘reforms’ in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.