The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has authorized farmers who have been protesting the agricultural laws of the center on the borders of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November last year to hold staggered protests at Jantar Mantar from Thursday.
Farmers plan to protest against the government and hold ‘Kisan Sansads’ on every parliament working day until the monsoon session ends.
In a letter to the Additional Commissioner of Police (Headquarters), Delhi Police, the Additional CEO of DDMA Rajesh Goyal said the Lieutenant Governor had approved a “spread out protest at Jantar Mantar by up to 200 protesting farmers/members of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) every day from July 22 to August 9 between 11 am and 5 pm.” Protests are not allowed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Police asked LG for clarification as restrictions on gatherings are still banned in the city as part of Covid-appropriate behaviour.
The letter states that protesting farmers will “use designated buses and six members of a separate group by a designated SUV on a particular route under police escort, subject to strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior”.
The DCP (Security), meanwhile, has ordered all police personnel to take their khaki uniforms with them while on duty during the protests and has also asked the material store in charge to be present for the distribution of anti-riot gear.
In the order, the DCP asked off-duty personnel to be in “standby mode” for emergency services. “Mobile phones of all personnel stationed in the security unit must be operational and not switched off at any cost. The PCAs will also ensure safe and easy access for all PPs in Parliament … will have two companies with anti-riot equipment ready,” the order reads.
Police have also received a commitment from farmers regarding the protests. “They have assured us that they will protest at Jantar Mantar from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They assured that they will not cross the Jantar Mantar area and that their protests will be peaceful. They will be allowed to sit on Jantar Mantar until 9 August,” a senior police official said.
The Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said farmers have been asked not to hold marches in view of Covid restrictions and that it has “made extensive arrangements to ensure that the protest program remains peaceful”.
Farmers leaders, meanwhile, said that from Thursday, contingents of 200 farmers will reach Jantar Mantar every day for the protest. They also said that every day more farmers are reaching the borders to join the protest. “A large contingent of farmers in a long convoy led by BKU Chaduni left Yamunanagar on Tuesday. Similar mobilizations are also taking place on other protest sites,” said a statement from the SKM.