A day ahead of PM Modi's rally, Patiala admn on tenterhooks over farmers’ demand for designated protest site : The Tribune India

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A day ahead of PM Modi's rally, Patiala admn on tenterhooks over farmers’ demand for designated protest site

Two DIG-rank officers to hold talks with farm leaders to find an amicable solution

A day ahead of PM Modi's rally, Patiala admn on tenterhooks over farmers’ demand for designated protest site

As per prohibitory orders placed in Patiala, the farmers cannot assemble without a written permission from the District Magistrate. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 22

A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally, the Patiala Administration is on tenterhooks over farmers’ demand for a designated protest site.

While farmer groups at the Shambhu border have decided to march towards Polo Ground, the venue of the PM’s rally, the representatives of other farm unions, who are not aligned with the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-political), are asking the police to allocate a space near the rally site to raise their issues.

While police officials are willing to allocate space to the farmers near Dukhniwaran Sahib for holding their protest march, farmer leaders are adamant to hold their sit-in near the venue, a demand which the senior police officers have blatantly refused.

“In case farmers are allowed near the rally site, it will be tough for the police manning the nakas to hold them for long. Therefore, the farmers have been given an option to hold their peaceful sit-in protest on the outskirts of the City,” a senior official said.

A senior IPS officer said the farmers are still to make up their mind as some leaders want to march towards the rally site, while some of them want the administration to give them a site near the rally venue.

“We will again hold talks with them around 5 pm, as they are yet to make up their mind,” said the official.

As per prohibitory orders placed in Patiala, the farmers cannot assemble without a written permission from the District Magistrate.

Two senior DIG-rank officers have been asked to hold talks with farm leaders to find an amicable solution.

“Given the charged-up atmosphere, any place near the rally venue is impossible. We can’t take chances which may lead to farmers’ direct confrontation with BjP workers. Therefore, our priority is to find a way out. Now, another round of meetings will be held after lunch,” said a senior official.

A senior police emissary has been tasked to hold discussions with BKU (Ekta Sidhupur) chief Jagjit Singh Dallewal, who is spearheading the agitation at Shambhu and Khanauri. However, Dallewal, who remained incommunicado since Tuesday afternoon, has given his nod to meet the officer.

“Also, we have received inputs that some hardliner groups from abroad will try to disrupt the rally. Therefore, we are going to follow the standard operating procedure while deploying security in and around the rally venue,” said the police.

Meanwhile, pro-khalistani graffiti was seen drawn at two places in Patiala. However, the cops are tight-lipped over the development.

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