Tents, car set ablaze at Indian Farmers protest site

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DM Monitoring

New Delhi: Two tents and a car were allegedly set on fire by unidentified people at the Singhu border where farmers have been protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws over the last few months. Furniture and luggage inside the two tents were gutted. The police said no casualties were reported and the protesters at the border doused the fire in time.
A member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said, “Around 12 noon, a man was seen near a tent. He was trying to set it on fire. When farmers saw the blaze, they rushed with water to douse the fire immediately. The man then set fire to another tent and left. A group of farmers tried chasing him but he escaped.”
The farmers lodged a complaint at Kundli police station against the accused. A senior police officer said, “We have been told that a man came from BRTS side and set fire to two tents or shanties. These structures were built by farmers for the summers. They kept their luggage, installed air coolers and put some furniture inside these small tents. Nobody was injured in the incident. The fire was doused within an hour.”
“We were told that after the incident he (accused) joined a group of locals nearby and couldn’t be recognised. We are looking into the matter,” said the officer.
Police have initiated an inquiry into the matter. No case has been registered.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three border points of Delhi, Singhu, Tikri (along Haryana), and Ghazipur, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws enacted by the Centre in September last year. While the Centre says the new farm laws will free farmers from middlemen, the protesting farmers, however, maintain that the laws will weaken the minimum support price (MSP) system and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.
Moreover, Thousands of Indian farmers, protesting over three new agricultural laws that they say threaten their livelihoods, have vowed to continue with their around-the-clock sit-ins despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the country. Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states in the north and the desert state of Rajasthan have camped on major national highways for more than four months, demanding a repeal of the laws even as coronavirus infections hit record levels.
India has emerged as the world’s worst-hit country since early April, overwhelming its stretched healthcare facilities.
Experts have blamed lax measures to enforce curbs on movement and large gatherings in the country of 1.39 billion people. The government would increasingly try to use the pandemic as a ruse to break the protest, but the farmers would not leave their protest sites, Rakesh Tikait, a prominent leader of one of the largest farmers’ unions, told Reuters.
“We have religiously followed coronavirus guidelines, and we have drawn up plans to stay put until at least November and December, or even beyond that if the government doesn’t listen to us by then,” he said.