Chandigarh, Sep 23 (PTI) The Haryana police on Wednesday used water cannons in Panipat and Ambala on agitators to stop them from proceeding to Delhi to protest against the Centre’s farm reform bills.
In Panipat, the police used water cannons at a Haryana Youth Congress-led tractor rally while in Ambala, it used them on a Punjab’s Lok Insaf Party-led motorcycle rally, trying to enter the state on their way to Delhi.
While the Haryana Youth Congress activists dispersed after facing water cannons in Panipat, Punjab’s LIP workers sat on the road on the inter-state border near Shambhu village in Ambala n a day-long dharna.
They could be evicted from there only by late evening, said police.
Owing to their continued sit-in on the Ambala-Ludhiana stretch of the national highway leading to Delhi, the traffic on it was also disrupted, said police.
In Panipat, the police stopped a tractor rally of the Haryana Youth Congress activists near a police barricade on the national highway to Delhi and asked the protesters to disperse.
However, when some workers tried to cross the barricade, police used water cannons to disperse them.
Many youth workers were later taken into preventive custody, police said.
IYC president Srinivas B V was also present in the tractor rally when it was stopped by the police.
The rally, in which, youth Congress leaders claimed, many farmers were also participating, was to proceed from Panipat to Delhi, where they were to gherao the Parliament, to register their protest against the farm bills, which they dubbed as anti-farmer.
The rally also disrupted normal traffic on the national highway for some time.
In Ambala, the police used water cannons on a motorcycle rally of Punjab’s LIP workers, trying to enter Haryana through the inter-state border near Shambhu village in the district on their way to Delhi.
Police said as the LIP workers tried to cross the barricades put up at the inter-state border, it used water cannons to disperse them after warning them against crossing the barricades.
But despite facing water cannons, the LIP workers sat on the road after being denied permission for movement of a large group of protesters due to the restrictions in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A tense situation prevailed at Shambhu village as the LIP workers led by their party leaders Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains remained adamant to moving on the national highway to Delhi.
The Haryana Police, meanwhile, was continuously making announcements asking the LIP workers to move back and disperse.
The police had sealed the area near the Shambhu border to maintain law and order.
On being stopped, the LIP leaders said they have a democratic right to protest.
'We want to raise our voice against the anti-farmer bills,' Simarjeet Singh Bains told reporters at the Shambhu border.
The LIP had earlier announced to gherao Parliament in Delhi against the farm bills.
Earlier in the day, thousands of party workers with black flags took out a bike rally from Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab as part of their protest.
Earlier on Sunday, the Haryana police had used water cannons to stop Punjab Youth Congress workers from entering the Ambala district and travelling ahead to Delhi as part of their tractor rally against the farm bills.
Srinivas B V and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar had also taken part in that tractor rally.
The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed by both Houses of Parliament, amid protests by opposition parties, including the Congress, TMC, DMK and the Left, besides some farmers' groups.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. PTI SUN VSD RAX RAX