In a renewed push for their demands, farmers advocating for legal backing for Minimum Support Price (MSP) have resumed their 'Delhi Chalo' march after rejecting a five-year contract to purchase only select crops. On Wednesday, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, a farmer leader, stated that the demonstrators, who have been stationed at two border points between Punjab and Haryana following an intervention by security personnel, intend to proceed peacefully towards Delhi.

The protest, centered at Shambhu and Khanauri points on the Punjab-Haryana border, follows clashes with security forces that halted their previous march towards the capital. On Wednesday morning, the Haryana police reportedly fired tear gas shells at farmers demonstrating on the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana.

Escalation of protests

The Centre reports an estimated 14,000 protesters, with 1,200 tractor-trolleys, 300 cars, and 10 mini-buses, converging along the Punjab-Haryana border. The government has expressed strong objections to the Punjab administration for allowing such a large gathering, intensifying the ongoing standoff.

Security measures

Delhi Police has heightened security in the national capital, focusing on Tikri, Singhu, and Ghazipur borders, anticipating the continuation of the 'Delhi Chalo' agitation. Heavy deployment has disrupted traffic on major routes, with 30,000 tear gas shells stockpiled by authorities. The situation remains tense as protesters prepare to challenge security forces and breach barricades.

Concerns at borders

At Shambhu and Khanauri points, tight security measures are in place, with the Haryana Police urging their Punjab counterparts to seize earthmoving equipment, including bulldozers, believed to be en route. The fear is that these machines could be used to break barricades, posing a significant threat to deployed security forces.

Protesters' readiness

Undeterred by last week's clashes, protesters are gearing up with gas masks, fortified gear, anti-riot shields, and excavators with modified cabins to withstand potential police actions. Sandbags have been brought in for the construction of makeshift paths through non-barricaded areas, showcasing the farmers' determination to press for their demands.

Failed talks and resumed march

Following unsuccessful talks with the government on guaranteed crop prices, farmers have chosen to resume their march, signalling an escalation in the ongoing agitation. With highways barricaded to prevent a repeat of the 2021 farmers' protests, authorities are on high alert as the demonstrators press forward with their demands. The coming days will unfold the dynamics between the protesting farmers and the government as both sides remain entrenched in their positions.

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