As farmers prepare for their protest in Delhi on Thursday, security has been tightened along the borders and at Jantar Mantar, the protest site. The Delhi Police on Wednesday gave permission to farmers to stage demonstrations against agri laws as part of an agitation that has been going on for almost an year now.
The farmers will gather at Singhu border from different protest sites and head towards Jantar Mantar. "Farmers have been permitted to protest here with a condition that their numbers won't exceed 200 for SKM & 6 persons for Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee between 11 am-5 pm daily, on being assured in writing that they would remain peaceful, " reports ANI.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers will hold 'Kisan Sansad' at Jantar Mantar. "We will monitor Parliament proceedings," he said. The sansad coincides with the the Monsoon session of Parliament, which will conclude on August 13.
Shadow of January 26 violence
The Delhi Police is taking no chances considering the violence that followed the previous protest -- the tractor rally -- by the farmers. A tractor parade in Delhi on January 26, meant to seek the repeal of three agriculture laws, had plunged into violence on the streets of the national capital as thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with the police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort. Hundreds of people were arrested after that.
The agitation received international attention after , the delhi Police arrested a 21-year-old climate activist, Disha Ravi, from Bengaluru for her alleged involvement in sharing of the 'toolkit' related to the farmers' protest on social media.
The controversy began when Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg posted the toolkit on her official Twitter handle. She later deleted the tweet, but it was on a public platform long enough for the Delhi Police to launch an enquiry. This was followed by several celebrities speaking up in support of the farmers.
What farmers want
Thousands of farmers from across the country have been agitating at Delhi's borders seeeking repeal of three farm laws that they say will do away with the Minimum Support Price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
Despite several rounds of talks between the government and farmers, the deadlock persists. The government is not willing to take back the laws but has often said that it was willing to discuss issues.