The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday (January 26) suspended all internet connections at the Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders to national capital New Delhi, from where farmers protesting the three contentious agriculture laws are orchestrating their mass riots on Republic Day.
A government order sent to telecom service providers directed temporary suspension of internet services in areas of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi and their adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi from 12.00 hours to 23.59 hours on the Republic Day, according to the Department of Telecom.
“Government has invoked Temporary Suspension of Telecom Sevices (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 in the interest of maintaining public safety and averting public emergency to suspend internet services in areas closer to farmers protest sites,” news agency PTI reported, citing sources at the telecom department.
According to a Department of Telecom spokesperson, internet shutdown order has been invoked by the local law and order administration and not by the department.
People residing close to farmers protest sites said that they are getting SMSes for suspension of internet service in their area.
“As per the government instructions, the Internet services have been temporarily stopped in your area because of which you are not able to use these services. You will be able to use the Internet services once we get directions from the government,” an SMS sent by a telecom operator read.
Chaos erupts on R-Day
Farmers, who were seen as friendly and peaceful for more than 60 days as they waited for the government to accept their terms, suddenly left behind a trail of vandalism, violence, hooliganism as they hoisted their flags at the 17th century iconic Red Fort after running amok through the capital clashing with the police personnel in several parts of the national capital.
Deviating from the designated route for the proposed tractor parade, a section of protesting farmers who were pushed back by the police form the ITO in Central Delhi drove their tractors to Red Fort complex.
The crowd swelled at the monument as some protesting farmers and ‘Nihangs’ (traditional Sikh warriors) were seen entering the Red Fort and hoisting a flag from the staff from which prime minister unfurls the tricolour on Independence Day.
A clash broke out between police and protesting farmers after the latter reached ITO and tried to push towards Lutyen’s Delhi, prompting the force to resort to lathicharge and use tear gas shells against them.
The farmers who began their march from different border points, much before the time permitted to them for their tractor rally, reached ITO in Central Delhi despite the force denying them permission for it.
The Delhi Police had given permission to farmers protesting the three farm laws to hold their tractor parade on selected routes only after the official Republic Day parade on the Rajpath concludes.
However chaos ensued as the farmers were were adamant of heading towards central Delhi.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been camping at the several borders of the national capital since November 26 last year demanding the repealing of the three farm laws. Eleven rounds of talks of farmers with the farmers in last two months have remained inconclusive.