New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) It was business as usual at the Singhu border as national and state highways across the country barring Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand observed a three-hour 'chakka jam' on Saturday.
The protest site on the Delhi-Haryana highway, the epicentre of the ongoing farmers' agitation, saw routine everyday activities like preparation and distribution of langar food, farmers making motivational speeches from stages, and tractors blaring rustic songs as the action shifted to the other national highways, albeit for a brief period in the day.
'We are happy to share the spotlight with other highways. We have been holding the fort for over two months and will continue to do so. It is good that today farmers from across the country are demanding the repeal of three farm laws,' said Manmeet Bajwa (34), who has been camping at Singhu for the past 20 days.
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting the three farm laws, on Friday called for roads and national highways to be blocked between 12 noon and 3 pm throughout the nation except in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Singhu border, which looked more crowded than before as more tractors and farmers made their way to the protest site, witnessed a heightened vigil by the security forces on the occasion.
Drone cameras, multilayered barricades, nail-studded roads and barbed wires -- now put atop the many heavy-metal barricades as well -- were used as precautionary measures by the police to ensure that the kind of violence witnessed on Republic Day tractor parade is not repeated.
The strength of security personnel, including the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and Rapid Action Force (RAF), deployed at the site was also increased.
'I don't know why they have to beef up the security to this level when we have said we won't be observing the chakka-jam here. It only tells about the lack of trust between the administration and the farmers,' said Navjot Heer from Punjab's Patiala district.
'And in case they are doing this to simply scare us down, then they can try as hard as they can but they just won't succeed,' said the 25-year-old.
The 'chakka jam' was observed to protest the internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues. Internet remains suspended at the three major protest sites of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri borders and surrounding areas. The MHA ordered the first suspension of internet connection amid the ongoing farmers' protest on January 26, when farmers' tractor march led to a violent stand-off between protesters and the Delhi Police. PTI MG ZMN