Farmers gather at Shambhu, Khanauri borders; to begin march towards PM Modi’s rally venue in Patiala


PATIALA: Farmer unions supporting the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) protesting at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders have decided to start their march towards Polo Ground, the venue of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally.

PM Modi will start his Lok Sabha poll campaign in the state by holding his first rally in Patiala on May 23.

SKM (Non-Political) leader Tejveer Singh confirmed that the farmer will assemble here at 10 am and start marching towards the PM Modi’s rally venue from Shambu and Khanauri borders.

The farmers are camping at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points since February 13 when their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march was stopped by security forces.

SKM (Non-Political) leaders Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Sarwan Singh Pandher, Amarjeet Singh Mohri,  Manjeet Singh Rai, who are spearheading the Shambhu and Khanauri Morcha protests, had insisted on talks with PM Modi and said that in case they were not invited, they would move towards the rally venue and show black flags.

Meanwhile, farmer unions led by BS Rajewal, Dr Darshanpal and Harinder Singh Lakhowal have also decided to enter Patiala through Nabha, Sarhind, Patran, Rajpura and other routes. “In case, authorities stopped the farmers from marching forward, they will stage a sit-in on the road to register their protest,” said Dr Darshanpal.

Sukhdev Singh Khokrikalan, general secretary of BKU-Ekta Ugrahan, has maintained that they have been allocated space to protest inside the district administrative complex which is nearly 5 km away from the venue.

Meanwhile, Patiala Police and reserves forces deployed for law and order duty have set up 10 nakas on each of the six roads leading into Patiala. As many as 50 cops have been deployed to protect each naka as the first tier and another 100 at the second tier of security at these nakas as police are not taking any chances. “We have placed sand-laden trucks to stop entry of any vehicles into Patiala and there will be only designated routes from where the BJP workers can enter, while no other vehicle will be allowed till evening”, said a senior officer deployed to check three nakas every half an hour.

Officials said that the farmer union members staging dharna near the administrative complex will not be allowed on roads till the rally ends. “They have been briefed about the dilation in detail and for all others who try to enter Patiala on tractor-trolleys, we will stop them on the outskirts of the city and special points have been set up with heavy barricading and security personnel”, they said. No business establishment has been allowed to open on the roads leading to the rally venue.

The makeshift helipad point at Yadavindra Public School and the roads around the rally venue have been completely sealed. Already instructions were issued to morning walkers at Polo Ground that the venue would be out of bounds for them for Wednesday and Thursday.