Tear gas has been fired at farmers massing at the Shambhu border point between Punjab and Haryana – a key meeting point for farmers from each state heading to Delhi as part of a massive ‘Delhi Chalo’ call.
Distressing visuals show huge plumes of smoke – making visibility almost impossible – and hundreds of farmers and their supporters, as well as media personnel covering the protest, running helter-skelter to the sound of tear gas shells being fired in the background.
The shelling – the first signs of violence – broke as the clock struck noon and the mass of farmers began their push towards Delhi. An estimated two dozen shells were fired in two rounds, with no immediate signs of provocation by the farmers, except for beginning their planned protest.
Visuals also showed the police and security personnel – outnumbered less than an hour into the start of protests – dropping smoke bombs from drones in an attempt to disperse the farmers.
Around 200 farmer unions – and an estimated one lakh farmers from neighbouring Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh – began marching on the national capital Tuesday morning, in a worrying replay of the 2020/21 protests, in which dozens died and the city was blockaded and cut-off for months.