On January 29, a group of men claiming to be local residents of Singhu area near the Delhi-Haryana border got past three layers of security barricades, raised slogans, and asked the protesters to vacate the area claiming that it is affecting their livelihood. This was followed by a major faceoff.
On the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh site, however, locals have made peace with the prolonged protest but are vexed by the traffic snarls, and internet shutdown caused due to it.
A resident of the Khora colony, which lies adjacent to the protest site, said that it takes him longer to reach his office due to blocked roads.
“It has been two months since farmers commenced their protest but people living in the area adjoining the site are not angry with them like those at Singhu border. There is, however, a grave issue of traffic and we often get late for work due to the jam,” Rajbir Singh, a Municipal Corporation of Delhi employee, said.
“These days, it takes us 20 minutes extra to reach our destination but if there is a traffic snarl, we get stuck for long. We are not agitated and understand that their issue is important too and would request the government to find a solution as soon as possible.”
As the farmers have blocked the flyover leading from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi, the routes have been diverted. One such road passes through the small lanes of Khora colony, with traffic kicking off dust in the area.
A pan-seller, in his makeshift shop by the choked and dusty street, said that people in the area adjoining the protest site are of the view that the government must find a solution or get the roads cleared.
“It is hard to breathe in this dust. I worry for my children. Besides this, we are facing problems due to the traffic diversion and internet suspension. The protest, however, is not affecting our livelihood in any way. It has been two months; the government must listen to them now,” said 33-year-old Ravindra Kumar.
From government, farmers to the public — everyone is frustrated, he said, adding that the residents are not angry with the protesters like those at other borders.
“We hope that a consensus is reached soon and the roads are cleared.”
Another resident of the Khora colony, Krishna Kumar, said: “Farmers park their cars in our area but we never mind it. We understand that they are protesting for a reason. Some homeless or poor people from the locality also go to the protest site to have a meal. Others go there for a stroll with kids. So far, we are not facing any grave issue.”
“Our aim is not to cause distress to anyone,” said a member of Bharat Kisan Union, which is spearheading the agitation, when asked if the protest is causing any inconvenience to the locals.
“Many poor people from the adjacent area come to the protest site to have food at the langar. We have not heard any complaints from the locals so far and hope the situation remains calm,” said BKU member Vipin Kumar.
The agitation has entered the 67th day at the second-biggest protest site. The protest has gained momentum again as both the crowd and police deployment has swelled up in the area.
The crowd is acting as a catalyst for the resumption of the protest that had started to fade out prior to the violence on Republic Day.
Various preventive measures have been put in place by the police and administration at the site, including suspension of internet, increased deployment of personnel, and strict vigilance.
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