Enacted last September, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. Another portion of the highway at Singhu border is practically blocked now as a makeshift cement wall has come up there.
Images of the barricades were widely shared on social media, with many comparing them to heavily militarized border fences.
Farmers reached the Ghazipur border from western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand as a turban-clad Rakesh Tikait led the charge for the BKU, the appeal of which coupled with a clarion call from a January 29 "mahapanchayat" of farmers in Muzaffarnagar has re-energised the stir, which was fast losing its sheen and momentum after the Republic Day violence in Delhi.
Farmers listen to a speaker during a protest against the farm laws at Singhu border near New Delhi, India, on January 30, 2021. The stir sites have already been turned into fortresses with police beefing up security and strengthening barricades.
This morning, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the government over the issue. It showed that two elderly farmers from Punjab, aged 70 and 80, were also among those arrested.
A woman protester from Haryana, addressing a large gathering from the dais, said the alleged conspiracy on that day failed to weaken the movement and has rather injected "a new lease of life" in it. "But farmers won't run away so easily", he said.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha, or United Farmers Front, a coalition of farmers spearheading the protests, said the measures are "part of multiple attacks being organized by the government, police and administration".
"We are not terrorists or Khalistanis".
The section of the highway at the Singhu border, which has been the epicentre of the farmers' protests for over 60 days, had also seen a clash recently between farmers and a group of people who claimed to be local residents. We are fighting for our rights.
A farmers' procession turned violent on Republic Day on January 26, when some protesters broke away from a rally of tractors to storm the historic Red Fort complex.