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Security is heightened in Haryana border areas to stop protesting farmers from heading to Delhi

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Chandigarh, Feb 10

Security was heightened on Saturday along Punjab-Haryana border areas to stop protesting farmers from Punjab entering the state and further heading to the national capital for another protest on February 13 to demand, among other demands, a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP).

The partial sealing of Punjab-Haryana borders by putting up barricades, boulders, tippers filled with sand and barbed wires, has impacted the movement of vehicular traffic, affecting commuters. Even paramilitary forces have been deployed to prevent untoward incidents and restrict the movement of vehicles.

Several farmer associations, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, have called for the protest.

This has been the second biggest protest by the farmers since they agreed to withdraw the agitation against the now repealed farm laws in 2021.

Besides a legal guarantee for an MSP, the farmers are also demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, farm debt waiver and withdrawal of police cases, besides “justice” for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. Local authorities in Haryana’s Ambala, Jind, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts have sealed almost all the entry points at the Punjab borders by raising huge concrete walls.

Director General of Police Shatrujeet Kapur said: “We won’t allow breach of peace in any way in the state. Action will be taken if someone tries to break law and order.”

After holding talks with Union ministers, including Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, representatives of farmers on Thursday in Chandigarh announced they would go on with their march to the Parliament on February 13 over their demands. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was mediating between them.

At the same time, the representatives admitted the meeting was convened in a congenial atmosphere and they expressed their concerns over the delay in implementation of demands, including a law to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

After the meeting, an official statement quoting the Chief Minister said during the first round of talks a general consensus emerged on rolling back the cases registered against farmers during the agitation against the repealed farm laws.

He said the deliberations were held in a congenial atmosphere and the Union Ministers gave their in principle approval to sympathetically consider the demands of the farmers.

Mann said exemplary punishment was sought against the manufacturers of the spurious seeds so that interests of the food growers are safeguarded, adding the issue of paddy straw burning was also vehemently raised.

The Chief Minister, while presenting the case of the farmers, batted for continuing the MSP regime on the crops by asserting that it is the need of hour to secure the interests of the farmers.

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