As murmurs of the farmers’ movement grow louder across the country, law enforcement and administration have commenced preparations.
In response, police have erected barricades at the Shambhu border between Haryana and Punjab, blocking roads with barbed wire. Ambala Police also conducted a mock drill to test their readiness.
The atmosphere, due to these preparations, is likened to that of a war zone.
Farmer organizations have announced plans to march with tractors to Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on February 13th.
In response, the police administration has taken stern action, implementing Section 144 and warning of repercussions for those joining the movement without permission, including vehicle confiscation and passport cancellations. Amidst these preparations, authorities have measured the water depth in the Ghaggar river near the Shambhu border to prevent untoward incidents like during previous agitations when farmers threw police barricades into the river.
Police express concern about potential damage to public and government property by protesters, threatening action under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984. The Property Damage Recovery Act 2021 allows for compensation for government property loss.
Ambala Police warn farmers against lending vehicles for the movement, threatening impoundment and deregistration. Farmer organizations plan to enter Haryana from three Punjab borders: Shambhu, Khanauri Jind, and Dabwali, en route to Delhi.
The movement began in 2020 to protest three agricultural laws. Previous clashes between Punjab farmers and police at the Shambhu border resulted in barricades being thrown into the Ghaggar river. The government repealed the laws on November 19, 2021, after a 14-month-long movement.
Demands include a law guaranteeing MSP for all crops, loan waivers, reimplementation of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, and justice for the farmers of Lakhimpur Kheri. Additionally, withdrawal from the WTO and halting free trade agreements are demanded.
Police warnings have been issued to farmers, emphasizing the need for permission from the administration to participate in the movement. Ambala SP Jashandeep Singh Randhawa warned of legal action against those disobeying orders.