The Delhi-Jaipur highway near Bhudla-Sangwari village in Haryana echoed with explosions as tear gas shells exploded near the farmers protest site on January 2, 2021.
According to The Tribune, police threw tear gas shells at protesting farmers after they broke through barricades and reached Masani Barrage near Dharuhera. As a result, one tractor caught fire and one person was injured during the mayhem. Some blankets and quilts were burnt in the fire.
However, the more disturbing news is the fact that some farmers claimed the shells were expired because of which the tear gas exploded on impact. This meant that the gas cylinders kept in tractor trolleys could have exploded due to the attack.
Is this a war situation?
What is the need to shell tear gas during nighttime on farmers?
Both the Haryana state govt and central govt will have to pay for this inhuman act.@mlkhattar https://t.co/6VYYQ5LKwH
— CPIM Maharashtra (@mahacpimspeak) January 4, 2021
The Indian Express stated that Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bawal, Rajesh Kumar confirmed tear gas shelling. He claimed that protesters had asked to walk ahead to set up a langar but began breaking through the barricades on getting permission.
Earlier, farmers from neighbouring areas of Rajasthan and Haryana and Tikri border joined the jatha on the Jaipur-Delhi highway. Around 4 PM, they removed the police barricades and attempted to force their way through. Haryana police, in response, chose to shell the protesters which led to a traffic jam.
The state police have followed similar government orders in the past to hush the farmers protesting against the three laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
The first ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement by farmers was marked by Haryana administration’s attempt to close down borders, effectively violating farmers’ right to protest and march.
Further back, on November 24, 2020, two days before the nationwide march towards Delhi, the government detained 30 farmers who intended to participate in the protest. The High Court issued a notice to the state government after listening to a plea describing the arrest of farmer leaders at ‘unearthly hours.’
SabrangIndia also reported on the state government’s willingness to allow Adani Agri Logistics (Panipat) Ltd to change land use for setting up a warehouse for agricultural produce on May 7, 2020, a time when the country was still reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.
That the incident occurred a day before the talks between farmer leaders in Delhi and the central government, is all the more deplorable. Nonetheless, farmers have clarified that the repeal of the three farm laws is the only plausible alternative to end the farmers’ struggle.