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Committed to upholding freedom of press: Narendra Modi



Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Nov 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday granted wishes to journalists on “National Press Day” , saying his government is “fully committed to upholding freedom of press and expression in all forms”.

PM in a series of tweets,  described free press as the “cornerstone of a vibrant democracy” and stated that “the role of the media in giving voice to the voiceless is commendable”.

“My greetings to all friends in the media on National Press Day. I appreciate the hard work of our media, especially the reporters and camerapersons, who tirelessly work on the ground and bring forth various news that shapes national as well as global discourse,” he tweeted.

“The role of the media in giving voice to the voiceless is commendable. Over the last three years, the media has added great strength to ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and effectively furthered the message of cleanliness,” Modi asserted.

The Prime Minister said that we were facing the rise of social media and news being gathered through mobile phones. “I am sure these advancements will further the reach of the media and make the media space even more democratic and participative,” he said.

“May our media space be used more and more to showcase the skills, strengths and creativity of 125 crore Indians,” Modi said.

Wefornews Bureau 


Farmers’ bodies claim Centre has allowed them entry into capital; Capt welcomes move

Face-off between farmers, police near Delhi border; tensions rise



Farmers Delegation

New Delhi, November 27: Punjab farmers’ bodies claimed that the Union Government has allowed them entry into Delhi with a permission to hold their agitation at the Burari ground.

“We have been allowed safe passage to Delhi,” claimed Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal.

He said officials of the Union Home Ministry had allowed them a place at Burari in Delhi to hold agitation.

On behalf of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, his media advisor said in a tweet: “I welcome Centre’s decision to allow farmers to enter Delhi to exercise their democratic right to protest. They should also now initiate immediate talks to address farmers’ concerns on the #FarmLaws and resolve the simmering issue.”

Despite heavy security deployment, groups of agitating farmers from Punjab and Haryana reached near two Delhi borders on Friday morning after breaking police barricades on the way as part of their protest march against the Centre’s new farm laws.

Clashes broke out at multiple places and Delhi’s borders resembled a virtual battle zone with restless crowds of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, milling around and a sea of police personnel keeping them at bay. Drones circled the air and plumes of smoke from teargas shells could be seen from far.

Beyond the border points, the tension spilled over on highways where groups of farmers squatted on the road, and stood in trucks and tractors, waiting impatiently to make their way to the national capital.

The Delhi Police has enhanced deployment of tear gas, security personnel, stationed sand-laden trucks and water cannons and used barbed wire for fencing at the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) to prevent the protesters from entering the city. Police were also deployed on Delhi’s border with Faridabad and Gurgaon.

A faceoff occurred between farmers and police at the Singhu border near Kundli as the agitating farmers who want to move towards Delhi resorted to stone-pelting and the police used tear shells to disperse them.

The Delhi Police used tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers who had reached the Singhu border, while at the Tigri border security personnel used water cannons to disperse farmers trying to enter the national capital.

Plumes of smoke were seen as security personnel used multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse the protesting farmers at the Singhu border.

At the Tigri border, farmers clashed with police and also tried to remove a truck, which was placed as a barricade, by tying it to a tractor with the help of a chain.

Multi-layer barricading was in place at the Singhu border — a direct route from Punjab to Delhi — to prevent farmers from entering the national capital.

Drones are also being used by security personnel to keep a strict vigil on the movement of protestors in bordering areas.

Hundreds of farmers staged a dharna at Tikri border in Delhi and decided to wait for other farmers before entering the national capital.

The farmers accused the Delhi police of detaining protesters and deflating the tyres of their tractors.

A major traffic jam occurred at the Gurugram-Delhi border due to the barricade’s put up by the Delhi police. Tribune photo/Chandan Sukh

A senior Delhi Police official said the forces have used tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers who had reached the Singhu border point which connects Delhi with Haryana.

The officer said the forces are using tear gas to disperse protesting farmers, but at the same time they are also “informing them that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, any kind of rally and dharna is not allowed in the national capital.”

“The permission has been denied for any kind of dharna or protest in view of surge in COVID-19 infections in the city and whoever tries to enter Delhi the police is empowered to take legal action against such person,” said another police officer.

Security has been strengthened at the border and sand-laden trucks and water cannons have been stationed, the officer said, adding that barbed wire is also being used for fencing at the Singhu border to prevent the protesters from entering the national capital.

Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, have announced they will go to Delhi through several routes—Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa. Tensions appeared to have been escalating at all the border points.

Farmers have assembled near the borders in tractor-trolleys laden with rations and essentials for their proposed Delhi march. Authorities in Haryana have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of the protesters.

However, farmers’ bodies have announced that they will hold a dharna wherever they are stopped from moving towards the national capital.

Punjab farmers are demanding the repeal of the new farm laws, which, they said, should be replaced with another set of legislations framed after wider consultation with the stakeholders. They also want a guarantee on the minimum support prices (MSP).

AIKSCC and Sanyukt Kisan Morcha has sent a letter to the Commissioner of Police Delhi and requesting him to let farmers enter Delhi and protest peacefully in the capital.

Preparations of langar has been going on by special committees of BKU Ugrahan in Sangrur. Tribune photo.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Haryana) leader Gurnam Singh welcomed farmers from Punjab to Haryana and urged them to maintain peace and not attack the police. He asked them to follow the lead of farmers from Haryana.

A 45-year-old farmer died while two others were injured when a truck hit their tractor-trolley near Mudhal village in Bhiwani en route the “Delhi Chalo” agitation.

Massive traffic chaos gripped the expressway in Gurugram on the second consecutive day owing to the heavy barricading of Delhi Gurugram-Sirahul border. A jam of about one hour threw traffic out of gear as vehicles stood lines up at borders were allowed entry only after thorough checks in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest of the farmer outfits.

Gururgam police had deployed 900 personnel on 13 borders connecting city to Delhi, Nuh, Rajasthan, Rewari, Sohna and Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway.

In all over 125 barricades have been put around borders which is leaving congestion with Sirhaul being the worst hit. The congestion not only left commuters to Delhi harried but also those headed to or back from Rajasthan.

What added to woes of the public is the suspension of metro services and public transport services to Delhi.

“There is traffic congestion but we are trying to maintain peace and keep city unaffected from the protest march. We had and are still appealing to people no to head to Delhi till urgent,” said CP KK Rao.

In Ambala, farmers removed the police barricades and threw them into the Ghaggar river passing beneath the bridge on which they are having a face-off with the Haryana police and RAF, who are equipped with riot-control gadgets.

Indiscriminate use of water cannons and tear gas shells failed to deter the protesters, who are renting the air slogans against the Centre and Haryana government while waving black and red flags.

In Jhajjar, Delhi police used tear gas shells and water cannon to stop the farmers at the Tikri border, adjacent to Bahadurgarh.

A march of Punjab farmers reached the Haryana-Punjab border at Shambhu. Braving water cannons and tear gas shells, thousands of protesters are adamant to break open the police barricades for gaining entry to Haryana for continuing their ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement.

Jhajjar: Farmers from Muktsar (Punjab) prepare food at the outer bypass in Bahadurgarh. Tribune photo

In Karnal, farmers from Punjab continued to march towards Delhi. They were marching on tractors and SUVs on the National Highway-44 and the Kaithal-Karnal roads. Police have erected fresh barricades near Karan Lake to stop the farmers. Farmers staged a dharna when Taraori police tried to stop them from moving ahead. However, after a brief faceoff, farmers were allowed to go ahead. The Taraori police were trying to divert them.

Karnal police have registered two FIRs -one against BKU president Gurnam Singh Charuni and another against unknown farmers of Punjab for breaking barricades in Karnal on Thursday.

BKU Ugrahan members have started preparations to start march for New Delhi from Khanauri border of Punjab-Haryana.

In Sangrur, preparations have started at the Khanauri border to start the march for New Delhi. BKU Ugraha members, in around 4,000 vehicles, will start the march in around two hours.

Farmers entered Haryana from Dabwali border. Tribune photo.

Farmers managed to enter Haryana by breaking the barricading at Dabwali border. 

Farmers today threw away triple-layered barricading and huge cement pillar stones deployed by Haryana police at the Dabwali border to stop them.

A 6-7 km long convoy of tractors and trucks entered Haryana through Dabwali town in Sirsa district as Haryana police personnel remained mute spectators and did not restrict the entry of farmers. Even though water cannons were deployed at the spot, seeing farmers in such a large number, police did not use it.

Apart from this, farmers in even private cars were also seen joining the protest and heading for Delhi Chalo protest from here. Many teachers have also joined the protest.

A youth with a stick also climbed atop a water cannon of the Haryana police and tried to damage it as well at Dabwali border.

A large number of youths in broke the barricades within a few minutes and entered the Sirsa district amid slogans of “BKU Ekta Ugrahan zindabad” and “Jo Bole So Nihal”. The youth were also seen wearing the t-shirts with a photo of Bhagat Singh.—With PTI

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Another batch of farmers manages to enter Haryana

“The voice of farmers cannot be muzzled indefinitely. Centre should immediately initiate talks with the Kisan Union leaders to defuse the tense situation at the Delhi borders.




Delhi Tikri Border Farmers

Chandigarh, Nov 27: Bracing tear gas and water cannons, another batch of a large number of protesting farmers from Punjab on Friday breached the massive blockades comprising huge boulders, barbed fence and mounds of earth on the Bathinda-Dabwali road to enter Haryana on their onward march to the national capital.

The farmers were led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta-Ugrahan.

Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of farmers belonging to the Kisan Sangharsh Committee started their journey from Jandiala in Amritsar district towards Delhi via Haryana.

A day earlier both groups had positioned themselves in their respective areas.

Riding more than 4,000 tractor-trailers and nearly 1,500 buses, besides cars and motorcycles, the farmers, comprising women and children, started marching towards Delhi after breaking barriers at Dabwali and Jind in Haryana.

An advance team of farmers, largely the youth, has been taking the lead of the rally, which is 10-15 km long, to clear the blockades erected by the police to make way for the protesters to move ahead without obstructions.

“We just managed to break a multi-layer police barricade on the border despite the use of water cannons by the Haryana Police,” protester Zile Singh said.

Earlier in the day, a large group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana continued their “Delhi Chalo” march from Panipat and almost reached the national capital. Marching through Haryana where they were joined by an equal number of local farmers.

Amid the protest, ‘langar’ preparations by special committees were underway to feed the scores of farmers.

Expressing solidarity, farmers have got thousands of litres of milk in the morning from Punjab and Haryana villages.

“We have enough ration with us to support the protesters in Delhi at least for two months,” said protester Rajinder Kaur.

A huge contingent of the police comprising the Rapid Action Force has been deployed at all entry points in Haryana, while residents of several towns located along the Punjab-Haryana border faced a harrowing time due to the heavy deployment of the security forces and snapping of the bus services in the past 24 hours.

The farmers affiliated to 33 organisations are part of the United Farmers Front, an all-India body of over 470 farmer unions that will participate in the indefinite protest in the national capital.

Farmers protesting against the farm laws have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate entities.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has once again reiterated that voices of the protesting farmers “cannot be muzzled indefinitely” and the “Centre should initiate talks”.

“The voice of farmers cannot be muzzled indefinitely. Centre should immediately initiate talks with the Kisan Union leaders to defuse the tense situation at the Delhi borders.

“Why wait till December 3 when the situation is getting out of hand now?” a tweet by Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral quoting Amarinder Singh said.

In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister said the Central government “needs to show statesmanship and accept the farmers’ demand for assured MSP (minimum support price), which is the basic right of every farmer”.

“If they can give verbal assurance, I fail to understand why they can’t make it a legal obligation of the Government of India.”

“Those claiming it is the Congress that’s instigating the farmers are blind not to see the lakhs of farmers trying to enter Delhi from across the country. It is a fight for their lives and livelihoods and they don’t need any backing or provocation,” the Chief Minister added.

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Tikri, Singhu borders sealed as farmers rally for Delhi entry

Police was also checking vehicles at the DND e-way and National Highway-24 crossings adjoining Uttar Pradesh.



Farmers Protest Delhi Gurgaon Border

New Delhi, Nov 27: Even as hundreds of farmers on Friday rallied at interstate borders to enter Delhi for their proposed protest against the three central agricultural laws, Delhi Police said it had decided to close Tikri and Singhu entry points.

The Delhi Traffic Police advised commuters to avoid roads and stretches on the Delhi- Haryana border due to crowds of farmers who were adamant on marching into Delhi. Hundreds of commuters have already been left stranded and stuck in traffic jams and snarls on these roads.

Earlier in the day, thousands of protesting farmers had gathered on the Delhi-Haryana borders, after which Delhi Police used tear-gas shells and water cannons to push them back.

“Tikri border is completely closed to traffic movement. Traffic intending to go towards Haryana is also closed. All motorists are advised to avoid this route in view of the protest by the farmers,” the Delhi Traffic Police advised.

Traffic was heavy on the carriageway from Peeragarhi towards Punjabi Bagh due to checking by police at Ordnance Depot. The Traffic Police requested motorists to avoid the stretch.

Heavy traffic congestion was also seen on the Delhi-Gurugram border as police along with paramilitary forces were deployed to check incoming vehicles.

“Obstruction in traffic on the carriageway from Gurgaon towards Dhaula Kuan due to checking by local police near Dhaula Kuan police chowki. Kindly avoid the stretch,” a senior Delhi Traffic Police officer said.

Police also advised people to avoid Outer Ring Road, Mukarba Chowk, GTK Road, NH-44 and Singhu border areas.

“Commuters are requested to avoid Mukarba Chowk since there is a traffic diversion and vehicles are not allowed to move towards the Singhu boarder. Interstate vehicles may take the Western/Eastern peripheral expressway,” the officer added.

Police was also checking vehicles at the DND e-way and National Highway-24 crossings adjoining Uttar Pradesh.

Around 500 organisations of farmers from various states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh etc had planned to hold protests in Delhi from November 26-27 to demand repeal of the farm laws.

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