One of the carriageways on the route was opened in the evening, allowing commuters coming from Delhi to enter Noida as the protestors continued to sit on the other side of the road amid heavy police deployment.
Shiromani Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday returned his Padma Bibhushan title to show allegiance to the farmers’ cause.
Farmers protesting against the new farm laws continued their sit-in at the Noida-Delhi border for the second day on Wednesday, leading to the closure of a key route that connects Uttar Pradesh with the national capital. The route, however, was partially opened for commuters coming in from Delhi. The Noida Traffic Police in the morning advised commuters heading to Delhi to take the DND or Kalindi Kunj route instead of the Chilla route through the Noida Link road which was closed due to the demonstration since Tuesday evening.
One of the carriageways on the route was opened in the evening, allowing commuters coming from Delhi to enter Noida as the protestors continued to sit on the other side of the road amid heavy police deployment. “One of the carriageways has been opened to allow people coming from Delhi to enter Noida or UP. The law and order situation is under control. Some farmers are still on the other side of the road,” Noida Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajesh S told PTI at 5.30 pm.
He said the police and PAC personnel are deployed at the border in adequate numbers and some protestors who had gathered under the Mahamaya flyover, disrupting the road traffic, have been shifted to nearby ground and the route cleared. The protestors at the Delhi-Noida border belong to various districts of western UP like Gautam Buddh Nagar, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Kasganj and Firozabad and want to reach the national capital to join the bigger stir launched by farmers of Punjab and Haryana against the Centre’s agriculture reform laws.
The farmers at the border are affiliated to various groups, including the factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union but have been prevented by the UP and the Delhi police from proceeding to the national capital. “The farmers can be allowed further movement if they agree that they will move straight to Burari in Delhi and not go elsewhere in the national capital. The Delhi Police has already given them this condition and offered to escort them to Burari but the protestors are not agreeing to the condition,” a senior police official said.
Meanwhile, the protestors looked prepared to stay put at the border for a longer duration as some of them cooked their meals in large utensils, while some were seen taking a nap on mattresses with others enjoying hookah on the key road. “We are not going back until our demands are met. We want to go ahead and join the farmers who have come from Punjab and Haryana for the cause of the farming community,” said Mahender Kumar, a Firozabad resident.
Hundreds of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. They have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.