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Protesting farmers fight with ‘locals’ ; Delhi border turns ‘war zone’

New Delhi: Three days after the extensive disorder in the capital on Republic Day, the farmers protesting on the farm laws at the Singhu frontier fought with a crowd of people on Friday. The farmers claimed they were locals and blamed the farmers for insulting the national flag. This directed to a pitched conflict with stone-pelting from both parties and wounds to many. These comprised the Alipur SHO, Pradeep Paliwal, who was severely injured when a sword-wielding protester from among the farmers attacked him.

“Forty-four people, including Ranjeet Singh, a resident of Nawanshahr who assaulted Paliwal with a sword have been captured. Three other administrators who were attempting to restrain the mob were also wounded,” said Sanjay Singh, special commissioner of police. “To contain them, we fired around 15 tear gas shells. The sword was also seized.”A crowd of over 200 people reached the protest place around noon on Friday carrying placards and flags. They insisted they were suffering economic hardship and desired the farmers to vacate the space.

After yelling slogans for an hour, these radicals broke through the police cordon around 1:30 pm and contrived to enter the protest place. They then started destroying tents, langars, and several other objects belonging to the farmers. This directed to a huge confrontation between the two groups notwithstanding a call from the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee stage urging the farmers not to respond with the Satnam Jaap being executed on a circuit to defuse the circumstances. The farmers then countered with sticks and swords. The police had to command a lathi-charge and fire tear gas shells.“They destroyed our langar and broke our washing machines,” “When they were attacking us, we showed restraint. I was inside the tent which is closest to the barricades put up by the police. As soon as I heard the commotion, I put two blankets over me as stones were flying all around, One of them even threw a petrol bottle in our direction and damaged our stock of food.” a protester, Gurjeet Singh, said.

SHO Paliwal stated that he was striving to manage the masses when a man, later identified as Ranjeet Singh, attacked him with a sword. Paliwal bore injuries on his arm and was admitted to a hospital for surgery. By 2 pm, the cops had succeeded to control the situation which remained rigid with the protesters and the farmers confronting each other from a distance. The protesters, who were placed near the Singhu toll booth, started shouting slogans once again and another brief round of stone-pelting happened. They were eventually pushed out by the police.

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Police sources said they had to allow the protesters as they were residents of the area and free to move around. They said in the past too, they had been moving freely in the area and could not have been stopped. They said that when this group went to meet the leaders of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee at the Alipur traffic signal, they were rebuffed. The farmers disrupted the police barricades following which the stone-pelting began.

A protestor, Manish Kumar, who was carrying a placard that asked the farmers to call off their protest, said he managed a mobile store in Alipur village and had set up for the protest because “these farmers have caused employment loss to many of us and have attacked our police brothers. We desired to speak to them but they threw stones at us.”However, Harwinder Singh from the farmers’ camp, who belongs to Taran Taran, and was injured in the attack, claimed that the men were not locals. “The locals are supporting us by providing us amenities and are with us in our struggle. We also feed them at our langars. They would never do this to us,” he said.

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