NEW DELHI: A day after their stand-off with security forces over entry into Delhi, farmers who have travelled from Punjab and Haryana continued to rally and shout slogans at the Tikri interstate border entry/exit point on Saturday, without any interference from the policemen who preferred to look on.
Various farmer leaders addressed the protesters even as the situation was more relaxed compared with what was witnessed on Friday, as policemen armed with a water cannon and tear-gas shells remained stationed in vicinity.
On Friday, the area witnessed clashes between security forces and farmers who were pressing forward to move to Delhi to agitate against the new farm laws.
Farmers continued to raise slogans against the central government since Saturday morning, even as the number of security forces seemed to thin by afternoon. Even one of the two water cannons stationed there since Friday had been removed from the spot.
Many farmers could be seen sitting around or resting in their tractor-trolleys or minitrucks in which they were also carrying adequate dry ration and other essentials to sustain them for a few weeks.
At one place, farmers and others were busy preparing ‘langar’ or community kitchen food for the agitators who were rallying or listening to the speeches of their leaders. The protesters have brought along LPG cylinders and stoves apart from big utensils to cook meals on the roadsides.
Many of tractor-trolleys and minitrucks were covered with blankets and tarpaulin sheets to protect the farmers and their families from the vagaries of weather, with mattresses and pillows laid underneath to provide comfortable ride to all, including women and the aged.
The cavalcade of farmers comprised tractor-trolleys, minitrucks, and water tankers, stretching over several kilometres.
Some of the farmers said that they were awaiting instructions from their leaders on the future course of action as the police was ready to let them travel only to the Burari ground in north Delhi and not Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar for their protest.
Darbara Singh Malli, a representative of one of the farmers’ unions, told IANS: “We have been abiding by our senior leadership’s directives. We will go by what they say. They are in touch with government authorities. As and when they direct us, we will take our next step.”