Protesting farmers clash with security forces 200km from New Delhi – TV

By Thomson Reuters Feb 13, 2024 | 10:19 PM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Protesting farmers who were attempting to reach the capital New Delhi clashed with security forces for a second day on Wednesday, with drones being used to drop tear gas shells, television visuals showed.

Hundreds of farmers, travelling on trucks and trolleys loaded with food, bedding and other supplies, began marching towards Delhi on Tuesday morning after talks between their unions and the government failed to yield a commitment regarding minimum prices for a range of crops.

The protesters were stopped by security forces at the Shambhu border that divides Punjab and Haryana – the northern states to which most of the protesters belong – almost 200km (125 miles) from their destination.

“We want the prime minister to come forward and speak to the farmers,” Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, told Indian news agency ANI.

Farmers say the government has failed to fulfil its 2021 promise of paying more for crops.

ANI visuals showed tight security arrangements in other areas bordering the national capital as well, with rows of barricades and cement blocks topped with wire meshing, and empty containers lying ready for use as physical barriers.

Images also showed security forces in anti-riot gear standing ready to be deployed.

A year-long protest in 2021 by farmers, a powerful voting bloc, had pushed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to repeal some farm laws and promise to find ways to ensure support prices for all farm produce.

The latest protests come with the country months away from a national election where Modi will seek a third term.

(Reporting by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)