Haryana police have stepped up security measures in view of the protesting farmer unions' call for a countrywide 'chakka jam' on Saturday, an official said. Senior police officers have been asked to personally supervise security and traffic arrangements at vital junctions and roads while district police chiefs have been directed to ensure deployment of adequate personnel, according to an official communication issued to them.
"In view of the January 26 incidents in Delhi, some anti-social elements and aggressive youth creating law and order problems, cannot be ruled out, as per the communication dated February 4. It is assessed that as part of the protest programme on February 6, protesting farmers/unions may attempt road blockades of important national highways, state highways and interior roads, it said, asking the police to ensure necessary security arrangements are in place.
The police commissioners and district police chiefs have also been asked to make all out efforts to liaise with local leaders of farmer organisations to ensure peaceful conduct of their proposed programme, it said. Farmer unions had on Monday announced that they would hold a countrywide chakka jam on February 6 and block national and state highways for three hours to protest against the internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
Meanwhile, Haryana Home and Health Minister Anil Vij has appealed to the peasant leaders to call off the chakka jam. Replying to a question on the issue in Gurugram on Thursday, Vij said, "Biggest problems in the world and even international issues are solved through dialogue. Vij said the government is always ready for talks and the protesting farmers must come forward.
The government is always ready for talks and the prime minister has said the doors for talks are open. So, they should come forward, he said. He also said that in a democracy everyone has the right to protest and hold dharnas, but while exercising that right, one should also keep in mind that they should not violate the rights of others and common people should not be inconvenienced.
"So, it is my appeal to farmers leaders that they should call off their chakka jam programme, said Vij. Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the three agri laws.
The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and help introduce new technologies in agriculture.