Traffic snarls and heavy police bandobast were seen in the capital ahead of a planned protest march by the Shiromani Akali Dal to demand the rollback of the Centre’s three farm laws.
SAD is observing September 17 as “black day” as it marks one year since the enactment of the Narendra Modi’s government’s controversial farm legislation. The party has called on farmers and supporters from Punjab to turn up in Delhi and take out a protest march from Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib to Parliament to demand a repeal of the three laws.
The march is being led by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Protesters have been allowed to cross police barricades and proceed towards Pant Marg.
Delhi: Shiromani Akali Dal takes out a protest march from Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib to the Parliament building on the completion of one year of the Centre's three farm laws pic.twitter.com/MV0x0ZTRur
Traffic came to a complete stop on Minto Road and ITO due to diversions set up all the way to Connaught Place by Delhi Police. Barricades were put in place at several locations in the capital, prompting SAD supporters to raise slogans against the police and the government.
Vehicular movement was also hit at Jhandewalan-Panchkuian road.
Taking to Twitter, the Delhi Traffic Police informed about closure of roads at Jharoda Kalan border and suggested commuters to refrain from using these routes in view of the farmers’ movement.
“Gurdwara Rakabganj Road, RML Hospital, GPO, Ashoka Road, Baba Kharak Singh Marg will be full due to the farmers’ movement. Please refrain from using these routes,” the Delhi Traffic Police mentioned in another tweet.
The DMRC closed all entrances and exits at the Pandit Shree Ram Sharma and Bahadurgarh City metro stations in light of the protest led by SAD.
Delhi: Vehicular movement affected at Jhandewalan-Panchkuian road ahead of a protest led by Shiromani Akali Dal in the national capital pic.twitter.com/1lTcLK22OX
POLICE DENIES PERMISSION TO PROTEST
Heavy police presence was seen outside Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, where flag-bearing protesters have gathered. DCP Deepak Yadav said the SAD does not have the requisite permissions to organise a protest march.
“We are in talks with their leaders and have clearly informed that there is no permission to hold a protest,” DCP Deepak Yadav told ANI.
Earlier in the day, SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and other top functionaries met with Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) officials at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj to discuss the planned protest march.
“We will court arrest if we have to. SAD has a 100-year history of standing up against injustice,” said former MP and SAD leader Jagmeet Singh Brar.
The three agriculture laws, which the farmers have been protesting against for several months now, were passed in Parliament on September 17, 2020.
While the SAD has taken to Delhi streets to demand a rollback of the farm laws, the Aam Aadmi Party will be holding candlelight vigils in Punjab to pay tribute to the farmers who died during the ongoing agitation against the farm legislations.