The tractor marches started from four different points – Singhu to Tikri border, Tikri towards Kundli, Ghazipur to Palwal and Dhansa to Badli. The first two assembled midway at Kharkoda. A fifth planned rally, from Rewasan in Nuh to Palwal, could not be held as its leader was arrested.
On the WPE, thousands of tractors converged for the rally led by farmer leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan, who heads BKU (Ugrahan). Most of them were driven by protesters from Punjab and Haryana camping at the Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26.
“This is just a trailer of what we can do and plan to do on January 26. There were about 10,000 tractors of farmers from the villages dotting the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway and of those protesting at the Tikri and Singhu borders. For the Republic Day rally, there will be nearly 50,000 tractors from various districts of Punjab and Haryana,” said 75-yearold Ugrahan, an Army veteran.
Ramzan Chaudhry of Jai Kisan Andolan, who was set to lead the tractor march from Rewasan, was picked by cops from his home in Tauru around 8am. While he was taken to the city police station, his supporters were taken to the Punhana police station. “My phone was taken away forcibly due to which I could not contact anyone and my family was unable to locate me. They kept moving me from one place to another and booked me under IPC sections 107 and
151. Finally, in the evening I was taken to the SDM court where I was asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000. I refused and after arguments, I was released,” Ramzan said. TOI could not reach the Nuh SP for his response.
Hundreds of farmers in Nuh who had stepped out to join the tractor parade at KMP expressway were stopped by police, which placed barricades at many places, including the Rewasan toll plaza, one of key points. Several farmers were apprehended at the toll plaza and taken to the nearest police station.
Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav said the Haryana government seemed to be applying different rules to Nuh and the rest of Haryana. “I don’t understand why police allowed the protest on KMP, but illegally detained farmer leaders like Ramzan from Nuh. It’s a part of Haryana too. Why are there two laws?” he asked.
On the EPE, more than 300 tractors lined up about 2km at UP Gate near the Ghazipur border. The caravan was led by BKU (Tikait) leader Rakesh Tikait, who drove a tractor along with his followers to Duhai. They then took the EPE towards Palwal and were joined by farmers from Modinagar and Dasna, as well as those from Jewar, who came on 600 tractors via Yamuna expressway.
The caravan stopped at Sirsa cut, where farmer leaders took turns to address the gathering before heading back. Dharmendra Malik, an office-bearer of BKU (Tikait), said, “The original plan was to proceed up to Palwal but the rally was terminated at Sirsa cut where farmers coming from the opposite direction met us.” Tikait said if the Centre did not pay heed to their demands, it should be prepared for a bigger rally on January 26. “On Republic Day, tractors will move along with tanks,” he said, adding that many tractors were stopped by police.
Farmers associated with BKU (Bhanu) led a rally with 30 tractors from Mahamaya flyover to the Chilla border.