Nearly 200-500 people claiming to be locals clashed with farmers at Singhu Border on Friday despite the presence of heavy security. Reportedly, the incident took place merely hours after President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the Parliament ahead of the budget. According to sources, stone pelting took place between farmers and the supposed ‘locals’ and the Delhi Police were forced to resort to using tear gas and lathi-charge.
Eyewitnesses point out that a large group of people claiming to be locals were on one side of the road, raising slogans and soon, another large group joined them. Suddenly, the 500 “locals” entered the area where the farmers had set up their tents and began uprooting them. The protesting farmers started resisting, leading to stone pelting between the two sides. Some tents and washing machines were damaged in the clash. A police officer sustained injuries during the clash, while Delhi Police had to step in to calm down farmers as well as the locals.
Questions are being raised as to how these ‘locals’ managed to enter the protest site despite the area having high security and all routes to it blocked as the Delhi Police placed barricades to prevent anyone from entering the protest site. All routes leading to the Singhu Border have been blocked since Thursday night, as the situation has been volatile since the Republic Day tractor march and the authorities have beefed up security.
Reportedly, on Thursday, a group of 100 people claiming to be locals had come to the Singhu Border and were raising slogans asking farmers to vacate the area as they “disrespected” the national flag during the Republic Day clash. Some media persons at the scene have alleged that the same people, with an addition of 300-400 people, clashed with the farmers today. However, reporters were asked to move a few kilometres away from the volatile zone for safety reasons.
It must be pointed out that these protests sites have been peaceful ever since the protest started nearly two months ago. However, post the Republic Day clashes in the national capital, the protest sites have become highly volatile. On Thursday, Ghazipur border area became quite volatile after heavy security was deployed. Reports also suggest that orders were passed on Thursday to remove the protesting farmers. However, the farmers made it clear that they are not going anywhere and the protests would continue peacefully.