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14,000 people, 1,200 tractors at Shambhu border, MHA tells Punjab govt; asks it to take action

In a communication to the Punjab government, the Union Home Ministry also said that the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state has been a matter of concern.
Last Updated 20 February 2024, 23:33 IST

New Delhi: The Centre has estimated that nearly 14,000 people have gathered along the Punjab-Haryana border with 1,200 tractor-trolleys, 300 cars, 10 mini-buses as well as small vehicles and conveyed its strong objections to the Punjab government for it, sources said on Tuesday.

In a communication to the Punjab government, the Union Home Ministry also said that the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state has been a matter of concern over the last few days and asked it to take stringent action against lawbreakers.

The home ministry said many miscreants in the guise of farmers were indulging in stone-pelting, mobilising heavy machinery along the Shambhu on Punjab's border with Haryana.

Protesting farmers have been staying put at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab's border with Haryana after their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the Centre for various demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops, was stopped by security forces which led to clashes last week.

Farmer leaders taking part in agitation on Monday rejected the Centre's proposal of procuring pulses, maize and cotton at MSP by government agencies for five years, saying it was not in farmers' interest and announced that they will march towards the national capital on Wednesday.

As per the reports prepared by central security agencies, nearly 14,000 people have been allowed to gather at the Shambhu barrier on Rajpura-Ambala Road, with nearly 1,200 tractor-trolleys, 300 cars, 10 mini-buses and other small vehicles, the home ministry said.

Similarly, Punjab has allowed a gathering of around 4,500 people with close to 500 tractor-trolleys at the Dhabi-Gujran barrier, it claimed.

The deteriorating law-and-order situation in Punjab has been a matter of concern over the last few days, since it seems to have freely allowed miscreants and law-breakers in the guise of protest to indulge in stone-pelting, mobilising heavy machinery on the border with a marked intention of spreading unrest and disorder in neighbouring states, the home ministry told the Punjab government.

In view of the above, it is requested to take immediate review and stringent action to curb all such disrupting activities in the guise of farmers' protest, it said.

The home ministry also said that as per reports, the court has asked the Punjab government to ensure that protestors do not gather in large numbers, especially raising serious objections on the use of tractor-trolleys, JCBs and other heavy equipment on highways.

As per reports from central security agencies, there has been a marked deterioration in the law-and-order machinery in Punjab in handling the recent agitation by a few groups of farmers protesting in the state, the home ministry told the Punjab government asking it to take action on it.

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(Published 20 February 2024, 23:33 IST)

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