Thousands of farmers, equipped with ration and diesel to last for months are marching towards Delhi despite sealed borders. This time they are protesting for various demands, including a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) for their crops, reminiscent of their 2020 protest that lasted for 13 months.
In 2020, farmers rallied against three laws, leading to their repeal in 2021. These laws included The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Now, the "Delhi Chalo" protest aims for legal assurance of MSP, debt waivers, farmer pensions, and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's formula. They also demand the withdrawal of cases from the previous protest.
Unlike in 2020, strict measures block their entry into Delhi, with barbed wire, cement barricades, and nails on roads. Section 144 is in place, and Haryana has shut its borders with Punjab.
Also, security has been increased at the borders of Noida and Delhi, causing a disruption to traffic in the area.
Despite this, farmers, mainly from Punjab, have mobilized 1,500 tractors and 500 vehicles loaded with six months' supplies. Tractors have been adapted into makeshift shelters for the journey.
"From a needle to hammer, we have everything we need in our trolleys, including tools to break stones. We left our village with six months' ration with us. We have enough diesel, even for our brothers from Haryana," he said, as he headed to Delhi on his tractor, pulling two trollies loaded with supplies, an NDTV report quoted Harbhajan Singh, a farmer from Punjab's Gurdaspur, as saying.
Farmers plan to enter Delhi in small groups and seek refuge in various locations such as gurudwaras, dharamshalas, ashrams, and guest houses, where they plan to stage spontaneous protests, reports suggest.
Security agencies are on alert, fearing potential protests targeting locations like the Prime Minister's House and the Home Minister's House.