Farmers have amplified their internal security at Singhu border protest site following the fresh incident of violence on Friday. Vigil at checkpoints and interrogation of any unfamiliar face has been increased to prevent any untoward incident which they are anticipating.
Naujawan Bharat Sabha President Rupinder Singh said that youth wings of the farmers unions have been told to guard the protest site and not let any suspicious person infiltrate the area.
The youth are patrolling the perimeter of the protest site in groups. Mahendar Pal Singh from the Ganna Sangharsh committee, Hoshiarpur, who was leading one such group, told IANS that young farmers are keeping vigil round the clock in shifts.
“The protest site is an open area, we have to remain alert 24/7, especially after the violence that took place on Friday. Our shifts are divided. My shift starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. From then, it becomes the responsibility of some other farmer to manage the security,” he said.
The farmers also informed that more than a thousand young volunteers guard the site in two to three shifts. Key entry and exit points are manned by 5-10 volunteers. The three routes within the protest site — exit to Kundli, TDI mall and a fast food outlet are under the watch of hundreds of young volunteers.
Another farmer, Majinder Dhannata, said that the farmers do not trust Delhi Police any more after the violent incidents two days ago. “Ab apni suraksha apne haath hai (now the security becomes our own responsibility),” he added.
“We have taken the matter of internal security in our own hands now. The police were complicit in the attack by the goons that day and they are no more trustworthy. On Friday, they stood and only watched. We can’t rely on them and their barricades,” Dhannata added.
The farmers were also seen carrying large wooden and bamboo staffs, but clarified that these are not to threaten anyone, but are a measure of self-defence. “Don’t interpret us as an aggressive group after seeing sticks in our hands. These are just a measure to control the crowd if they get unruly at any given point of time,” Mahendar Pal said.
On Friday, violence erupted at the protest site after over 500 persons claiming to be locals got past three layers of security barricades and pelted a farmers’ camp with stones, leading to a clash between them and the agitating farmers. They claimed that the farmers’ agitation affected their livelihood. However, farmers alleged that the crowd had gathered at the behest of the BJP.
Besides, the entry to the stages where farm leaders address the crowd and give speeches are also under restriction. We are not allowing everyone, said volunteers of Kisan Sangharsh Committee, when asked about the low number of audience present there.
Rupinder Singh said that a security room has been created near the main stage. “10 people present there at all times. Additional team of 25 persons maintain vigil nearby. Another trolley next to the main stage has 10-15 volunteers who can be called for assistance round the clock,” he added.