Highways blocked, protestors detained during nationwide 'chakka jam'

Farmers on Saturday resorted to road blockades at several places across the country demanding withdrawal of the three contentious farm laws.
Highways blocked, protestors detained during nationwide 'chakka jam'

New Delhi

The call for ‘Chakka Jam’ (Road blockade), that began sharp at noon, was given by joint farmers' union -- Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). The farmers' body had on Friday said that the National and state highways across the country will be jammed from 1200 hrs to 1500 hrs.
According to reports arriving here, vehicular traffic was disrupted as farmers blocked the roads at many places. However, there was no report of any untoward incident received from anywhere so far.
Hundreds of farmers from Punjab and Haryana gathered at the Shambhu border, which witnessed the first scenes of farmers-police. Heavy police force was deployed along the border in the Haryana side, while, in contrast, there was very less presence of police personnel in the Punjab side.
"Enough is enough! The government should immediately roll back the black laws," a protesting farmer told UNI at Ghazipur border which became the epicenter of the peasant's protests after an emotional appeal by farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on January 30.
The National Highway 1 connecting the national capital with Chandigarh was blocked at Karnal while NH 44 was blocked near Ludhiana in Punjab. The joint farmers' body had said that the three-hour Chakka jam will remain peaceful and non-violent. "The protesters are instructed not to engage in any confrontation with any officers, employees or common people during the protest," SKM said.
Karnataka farmers organisations succeeded in blocking national highways in various parts of Karnataka in general, and Bengaluru in particular. Traffic movement was hit on the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway, while farmers partially succeeded in blocking vehicles across the state, except in the coastal region which is the ruling BJP's stronghold in the state.
Farmers succeeded in blocking some roads in Bengaluru temporarily as part of the nationwide "chakka jam". This led to minor traffic snarls. Some of the demonstrators were detained as the police tried to clear the roads for traffic movement. Pro-Kannada leader Vatal Nagaraj, who joined the farmers, was also detained at Mysore Bank Circle.
Meanwhile, a delegation of farmers from Karnataka reached the Ghazipur border near Delhi on Thursday to show solidarity with the ongoing farmers' protest. Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Hasiru Sene led by farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, met Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.
Activists blocked prominent roads, state or national highways and other important thoroughfares in 34 of the Maharashtra's 36 districts - including Mumbai and excluding  Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg - squatted and halted traffic, waved banners and placards, shouted slogans and sang devotional or patriotic songs, amid tight police security, according to Samyukta Kisan Morcha spokesperson P. S. Prasad.
Farmers in Rajasthan blocked many national and state highways demanding the withdrawal of three farm laws and protesting against the internet ban near their protest sites and alleged harassment by authorities, among other issues. In Jaipur, tractors were placed on roads to jam the traffic while in Alwar, stones and thorny shrubs were placed on roads to check the traffic on roads. 
"We demand implementation of Swaminathan report and guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) as well as repealing the farm laws," said Kulwant Singh, member of Jammu Kashmir Kisaan Vikaas Front. The protestors blocked the Jammu-Pathankot highway which affected the traffic movement.
Protests were also held in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.
This is part of the pan India stir ''for seeking justice for farmers. This is not for political purposes or to inconvenience the general public,'' President, coordination committee of Tamil Nadu All Farmers' Association, P R Pandian told reporters.
The Delhi-Jaipur highway was completely blocked as the lane passing through the Shahjahanapur border (Alwar) was also closed around 11 am in morning. Former deputy CM Sachin Pilot, who started a kisaan mahapanchayat on Friday from Dausa, reached Bharapur on Saturday to address a farmers' gathering as a part of this chakka jam protest.
The Delhi police has taken strict measures like intensifying security at city's border points to deal with any kind of violent situation emerging out of the 'chakka jam'. Barricades wrapped with concertina wires have been placed at several places to keep off people on foot. 
Around 50,000 personnel of Delhi Police, Paramilitary and Reserve Forces deployed in Delhi-NCR region to maintain law and order situation here on Saturday, amid 'chakka jaam' call by the protesting farmers' representatives. At least 12 metro stations have also been put on alert, police said.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has temporarily closed ten Metro stations viz. -- Vishwavidyalya (Delhi University), Lal Quila (Red Fort), Janpath, Central Secretariat, Jama Masjid, Khan Market, Nehru Place, Mandi House, ITO and Delhi Gate.
Amid tumult and raising of pro-farmer slogans, the three-hour Chakka-Jam on Saturday ended at 1500 hrs with protestors, atop their tractors and vehicles, blaring horns for at least one minute.
On being asked as to why ended it with honking, a protestor farmer, in an apparent reference to the government, told UNI, "Sometimes loud noise has to made so that deaf can listen".
(With inputs from ANI, IANS)

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