Intensifying their protests against the contentious agricultural bills passed by the Parliament, various farmers' organisations, including from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have called a national shutdown on Friday.
Police on alert ahead of 'chakka jam'
The farmers' groups said they will hold a "chakka jam" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Though many of the protesters have said that they will protest in their own areas and not aim to head to Delhi, Delhi Police are on high alert and have made preparations to seal the border with Haryana, in a bid to forestall any such attempt. However, traffic across the Delhi-Haryana border was normal on Thursday.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) is among the groups that have called the shutdown, while in Punjab, 31 farmers organisations have come together to protest against the new laws.
BKU's Haryana President, Ratan Singh Mann, said: "Various farmers' organisations of Haryana will hold protests in all districts, tehsil, block and village levels against the farm bills passed by the Parliament. There will be a 'chakka jam' from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Organisations of the 'arhatiyas' (commission agents), traders' bodies and other commercial organisations will also participate. All sections are supporting the farmers's struggle. Traders in Haryana will also keep their establishments shut in solidarity. We will protest in our areas and have no plans to march to Delhi."
Mann also said that like Haryana, there will be protests in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and other states.
Other farmers' groups also clarified that their protests will be local and they will not move to Delhi.
However, as a precaution, Delhi Police will be maintaining vigil at all border points.
With farmers in Punjab intending to block railway movement too, several trains bound for the state or passing through it have been cancelled, while some have been diverted.
On Thursday, there were protests on the Punjab-Haryana border, but Haryana Police have set up barricades to prevent entry of agitating farmers into the state on their way to Delhi.
The farmers are opposing 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.