New Delhi: To prevent protesting farmers from entering the capital, Indian police and paramilitary forces dug trenches and paved main roads with razors on Monday.
When the Minister of Finance prepares to provide the government’s annual budget in Parliament, these agreements are in place.
The protests turned violent last week, the Internet and messaging services in several areas were blocked, and security in the vicinity of Congress and other important government agencies in the Central Region has also been strengthened.
“The government has increased security to avoid any clash or violence when parliament is in session,” said a senior official who didn’t wish to be named in line with official policy. “The idea is to keep everyone safe and avoid any escalation in tensions.”
A farmers’ procession turned violent on January 26 when India celebrated its Republic Day with a military parade as some protesters broke away from a rally of tractors to storm into the historic Red Fort complex after breaking through barricades and clashing with police.
On Friday, the authorities used tear gas and batons to break a clash at one of the protest sites near the city. In the past few days, more farmers and their tractors have come to the three main protest locations near New Delhi, along with their protesting colleagues.
“The country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolor (Indian flag) on the 26th of January in Delhi,” Modi said in a radio address on Sunday, making his first public comments on last week’s violence.
“The government is committed to modernising agriculture and is also taking many steps in that direction.”
Farmers want the government to withdraw three new farms, which were launched in September by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which they said would harm their livelihoods and benefit large private product buyers.
The government stated that the reform will bring new opportunities for farmers and has invited farmers’ leaders to engage in new dialogues to end the deadlock.
Although Modi is still India’s most popular political figure, his handling of the two-month-old commotion among farmers may undermine his position in the rural areas where most Indians live.