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Farmers reach near Delhi borders; face water cannons, tear gas

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Haryana) leader Gurnam Singh welcomed Punjab farmers to Haryana, urged them to maintain peace

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Farmers to Delhi
© -/AFP via Getty Images Police block a road and use a water cannon to disperse farmers marching to New Delhi to protest against the central government's recent agricultural reforms, on the outskirts of Ambala on November 26, 2020.

New Delhi/Chandigarh, November 27: A large group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana on Friday continued their “Delhi Chalo” march against the Centre’s farm laws from a road toll plaza at Panipat, about 100 km from 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.

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).

Despite the security arrangements, two groups of farmers reached near the Singhu and Tikri borders as Delhi Police fired tear gas shells at them to prevent them from entering the city. Police used water cannon and tear gas on farmers near Karahans village on NH-44, but the farmers managed to break the first barricade. 

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.

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

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. The youth gathered near the barricading chanted ‘jo bole so nihal’ slogans. Farmers removed big cement pillar stones kept at tge Punjab side, removed the first layer of obstruction kept by police to keep farmers away from entering Haryana. Youths are carrying sticks in their hands with them at Dabwali border. A massive jam occurred at the Dabwali border as more than 6-7 km long convoy of trucks and tractors lined up as part of the march.—with PTI

India

Centre convenes all-party meet on Jan 30 ahead of Budget session

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Parliament

The Modi government has called an all-party meeting on January 30 to hold discussions ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on February 1.

The Centre has invited leaders of all political parties in both the Houses to the proposed meeting slated to begin at 11.30 am through videoconference. Sources said the National Democratic Alliance parties too will meet on the same day.

Parliament’s Budget session will be held in two phseses amid all precautions against coronavirus — from January 29 to February 15, and from March 8 to April 8.

The all-party meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s Rajya Sabha leader Thawarchand Gehlot, Deputy Leader Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan.The one-hour Question Hour has been restored in the Budget session, which was suspended during the Monsoon session in September 2020 during corona pandemic.Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that corona tests for members att

ending the Parliament session will be mandatory.

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Right to salary a fundamental right: Delhi HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 20 : The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations for the non-payment of salaries and pensions to their employees, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a batch of petitions in relation to the non-payment of salaries and pensions to the employees of Delhi municipal corporations, particularly North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“Reason assigned for non-payment of timely salaries is stated to be paucity of funds which, as is well settled, cannot be an excuse for non-payment, keeping in view the fact that the right to receive salary and pension is a fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution and non-payment would have direct bearing on quality of life,” the court stated.

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NCP should decide on poll alliance soon: Goa leader

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Sharad Pawar

The Nationalist Congress Party should decide its political strategy for the 2022 Assembly polls in Goa well ahead of time, NCP state president Jose Philip D’Souza said on Wednesday.

D’Souza also said that party supremo Sharad Pawar was scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday for a brief visit to meet with the state executive committee members and discuss strategy for the upcoming polls.

“We will be discussing our electoral agenda with Sharad Pawarji, because elections are just a year away,” D’Souza said.

“Planning should be done in advance. If like minded parties want to go together for the 2022 elections, it has to be decided now. We will be discussing this issue,” D’Souza also said.
The party had fared poorly in the 2017 Assembly polls winning just one seat in the 40-member Goa Assembly, after much delayed talks for an alliance with the Congress failed.

D’Souza claims that it was imperative for the party to ensure that if the party was to ally with a “like-minded” party for the 2022 polls, the deal had to be sewn together sooner rather than later.

“Whether we should go with an alliance with other parties or not, it has to be decided now. If we leave it for too late, with a month or two to go for elections, then there is limited scope for discussion and things can go wrong. The talks should begin now,” D’Souza said, adding that he would be discussing the matter with Pawar.

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