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Farmers’ Protest Intensifies As More Protesters Gather At Delhi Borders

Protest at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur intensifies, leads to the closure of Delhi-Uttar Pradesh link road.

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The number of protesting farmers swelled at Delhi border points on Wednesday as police stepped up security after thousands blocked key gateways into the national capital for the seventh day on the trot, leaving commuters to face a harrowing time.

The protest at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur intensified leading to the closure of a key route connecting the national capital with Uttar Pradesh.

“The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to farmers’ protests near Gautam Budh Dwar. People are advised to avoid Noida link road for going to Noida and use NH 24 and DND instead,” the traffic police tweeted.

At the Chilla Border which connects Delhi with Noida, more farmers from Firozabad, Meerut, Noida and Etawah started gathering, prompting the authorities to close the key road stretch for the second consecutive day.

The protestors at the Delhi-Noida border belong to various districts of western Uttar Pradesh and want to reach the national capital to join the bigger stir launched by the farmers of Punjab and Haryana against the Centre’s new agriculture reform laws.

“More farmers from several districts, including Firozabad, Meerut, Noida and Etawah, are on their way to Chilla border. We will not leave this place until our demands are met,” Ramkishan, a protesting farmer, said.

A protestor camping at the Ghazipur border said farmers are here despite facing huge losses back home.

“This is the time we harvest sugarcane. But this is more important. We will continue to protest until the government agrees to our demands,” Sonu, a member of Muzaffarnagar Bharatiya Kisan Union, said.

More farmers also started gathering at Singhu border, one of the major protest sites.

The Delhi border points remained under heavy police deployment with concrete barriers and multi-layered barricades in place as the farmers continued their agitation against the new farm laws.

According to police, checking of vehicles has also been intensified at the border points as a precautionary measure in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march by farmers.

“Cemented barriers and multi-layered barricades have been put up besides heavy security personnel at Ghazipur border near UP gate where many farmers have been protesting since Saturday,” a senior police officer said.

The protest against the new farm laws is set to continue as talks between three Union ministers and farmer groups ended in a stalemate on Tuesday after they rejected the government’s suggestion of a new committee to look into the issues raised by agitating farmers.

The two sides, however, have decided to meet again on Thursday.

The city police have kept the Haryana-Delhi border at Singhu and Tikri closed for traffic.

Two more border points connecting the national capital with Gurgaon and Jhajjar-Bahadurgarh were also closed as precautionary measures on Tuesday. With this, five border points, including Singhu and Tikri, have so far been closed due to the protest.

The traffic police said the borders at Tikri, Jharoda and Jhatikra are closed for all kinds of “traffic movement”. The Badusarai border is open only for two-wheelers.

Available open borders to Haryana are Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera, it said.

As traffic spilled over to alternative routes, it led to long jams there as well.

The commuters entering or exiting Delhi faced inconvenience as the protesting farmers blocked key entrances to the city.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers’ income and alleged that their income has in fact “halved” under the ‘suit-boot sarkar’, while that of its crony friends has grown four times.

“They said farmers income will be doubled. What they did was increase incomes of ‘friends’ four times and those of farmers will be halved. This suit-boot government is of lies and loot,” he tweeted in Hindi.

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Barricades to open on Jan 26 as police allow Tractor Rally

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The Delhi Police on Sunday said that after several round of talks with the farmers groups, it has permitted the tractor rally inside Delhi on January 26.

Police has said that the barricades would be lifted at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders on January 26 after the Republic Day parade is over and the farmers would be allowed to enter upto 100 kilometers within Delhi with their tractors in a circular path on the routes discussed with the farmers.

The route specified is from Singhu Border to Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Kanjhawala, Bawana to Auchadi. From Tikri border, it will be to Nangloi, Najafgarh, Jharoda, Dhansa, Badli and the KMP and from Gazipur border to Apsara border to Hapur Road.

“We have told the farmers that the rally would start once the Republic Day parade is over. We expect with the cooperation of the farmers the rally would be peaceful,” Special Commissioner of Police, Intelligence, Deependra Pathak, said.

However, the police said that they are on alert after intelligence inputs that various Twitter handles operating from across the border are active to disrupt the rally on January 26.

“According to our intelligence input, 308 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan to disrupt the rally to create disturbance. We are also concerned about the security of the rally given the threat perception,” he added.

Meanwhile, several batches of farmers from Punjab and Haryana set out on their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles to take part in the proposed tractor rally on January 26 in the national capital. Tractor-trolleys have now become a common sight at the Singhu border as the farmers have started bringing in the tractors to the protest site from villages in Punjab for the proposed rally.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states have been protesting at multiple border points of Delhi at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders since November-end. They are demanding a repeal of the three central farm laws passed by Parliament in September last year.

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Soldier injured in Pak ceasefire violation succumbs

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An Army soldier injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the Line of Control in J&K’s Rajouri district, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

An Indian Army statement said, “Pakistan Army had resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation on the LoC in Sunderbani sector of J&K on January 18 which was responded to strongly by our own troops.”

“In the incident, Naik Nishant Sharma of 10 JAK RIF was critically injured and was under treatment at the command hospital.

“Today the soldier succumbed to injuries. Naik Nishant Sharma was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty.”

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CBI arrests labour official in TN in bribery case

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Sunday that it had arrested a Regional Labour Commissioner on the charge of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000.

P Sivarajan, posted as Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) in Madurai, was held along with a private person N Murali after the CBI laid a trap on Saturday and caught them with the bribe amount.

A case was registered after a complaint that Sivarajan was demanding undue advantage from Murali, representing a private company, for issuing labour licence.

Searches were conducted at five places in Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), including the residence and offices of the accused, said the CBI.

Both the accused were produced in the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Chennai, and remanded to judicial custody till February 4.

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