Delhi Police flags threat to farmers' tractor rally on January 26

Farmers have been camping on the outskirts of national capital for over two months in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial farm laws. Photo: ANI
Even as the Delhi Police indicated Pakistan-based groups could disrupt the farmers’ tractor rally in New Delhi on Tuesday, thousands of farmers across Maharashtra started assembling in Mumbai on Sunday to protest against the three farm laws. 

The Delhi Police said Tuesday's tractor rally in the national Capital, which have been allowed to start after the Republic Day celebrations conclude, will be conducted amid tight security. 

“Over 300 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan during January 13 to 18 to disrupt the tractor rally by farmers only by misleading people. There are inputs about the same from different agencies, too,” Deependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence), said at a press conference. “It will be a challenging task for us.”

A farmer leader told PTI that “around 100,000 tractor-trolleys from across the country will participate” in what is now being termed as Kisan Gantantra Parade. 

A member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said the parade will cover more than 100 km. A war room has been set up at each protest site to ensure effective coordination. There will 40 members, including doctors, security personnel and social media managers, in each of these rooms, the SKM member said. Another farmer leader said around 2,500 volunteers have been deployed to ensure that the parade remains peaceful.

Around 15,000 farmers from across Maharashtra, thousands of whom had gathered at Nashik on Saturday, began assembling at Mumbai's Azad Maidan on Sunday | PTI

Since November, farmers have been camping at Delhi border points, including Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, demanding that the three farm laws — Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empow­erment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – be repealed.

"Everyone has to return to the starting point after the parade," one of the leaders said – indicating the two-month-long protest won’t be over after the tractor rally.

Meanwhile, the All India Kisan Sabha's (AIKS) Maharashtra unit said around 15,000 farmers had set out for Mumbai from Nashik on Saturday. After a nearly 170-km march, part of which was done on foot by many farmers, they started converging at Azad Maidan, the protest venue in south Mumbai. 

A sit-in protest began on Sunday, which would continue till January 26. There will be a public meeting at 11 am on Monday in which Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, state Congress president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray are likely to take part. 

Later, protesters will march to the Raj Bhavan and submit a memorandum to Governor B S Koshyari, the AIKS said.

The Mumbai Police has stepped up security at Azad Maidan. Drones will also be used to keep an eye, a police official said.

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