Chaos erupts ahead of Modis rally: Farmers clash with police, roads blocked

  • | Friday | 24th May, 2024

In the early hours before the Prime Minister Narendra Modis much-anticipated rally in Patiala, chaos ensued as farmers and labourers clashed with police forces on the highways leading into the city. The farmers, on their way to protest against the Modi Government, were intercepted and blocked by the police using trucks and tractors, creating a tense and volatile situation.   The atmosphere on the highways was charged with tension as farmers and police faced off. Minor injuries were reported on both sides as they locked horns over the passage to BJP candidate from Faridkot Lok Sabha seat Hans Raj Hans — a singer-turned-politician who has been a vocal ahainst farmers proetsts   The confrontation escalated when the farmers sought an apology from Hans Raj Hans, who was caught in a blockade by the farmers, for his recent comments before allowing him to pass.   We will not allow you to leave as you have always belittled our struggle and have praised Modi, declared the union members who surrounded Hans Raj Hans vehicle near Passiana. Despite the presence of senior officers, the farmers remained adamant, leaving Hans Raj Hans trapped in the melee.   The Patiala police, along with reserve forces, established ten checkpoints (nakas) on each of the six main roads leading into Patiala. Each checkpoint was fortified with 50 police officers as the first tier and another 100 officers as the second tier of security. Sand-loaded trucks were strategically placed to block entry to vehicles, and only designated routes for BJP workers were kept open.   We have placed sand-loaded trucks to stop entry of any vehicles and there will be only designated routes from where the BJP workers will be allowed while no other vehicle will be allowed till evening, said a senior officer tasked with monitoring the checkpoints.   The situation escalated as farmers blocked the Toll Plaza at Dhareri Jattan, squatting in front of the toll booths and raising slogans, leading to significant traffic jams. With farmers blocking major roads leading into Patiala, BJP workers being ferried from nearby towns faced considerable hardships in reaching the rally venue.   Interestingly, farmers managed to block multiple key routes, including Sirhind Road, Rajpura Highway, Sangrur-Patiala Highway, and Samana Road, causing widespread traffic disruptions. Even some BJP workers were caught in the ensuing jams. With just minutes left for PM Modi to arrive at the venue, BJP workers were advised to return as reaching the rally site became increasingly unlikely.   The roads leading to Patiala were in complete disarray with police barricades halting all movement. Hapless commuters found themselves stuck in the chaos alongside hundreds of others. If we cant meet Modi and ask him simple questions, then why should we allow others to listen to him too? said farmer union members at the Passiana checkpoint. The police called for additional reserve forces to manage the swelling number of protesters at Passiana.   Sarwan Pandher, a prominent farmer leader, expressed frustration over the situation. Despite our repeated attempts, the state police emissaries failed to get us any response from the Prime Ministers Office regarding our questions, and therefore we had no option but to hold a protest and reach Patiala, he said, blaming the police for preventing farmers from reaching the venue to question the PM.   Meanwhile, the rally venue was heavily guarded by a large number of police personnel. Construction trucks carrying sand were parked on slip roads to block access towards the Polo Ground where the rally was to take place. As the standoff continued, the scene underscored the deep-seated tensions between the farmers and the government, reflecting the broader unrest and dissatisfaction among the agricultural community in Punjab.  

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