New Delhi has been heavily barricaded for today’s budget session with razor wires and ditches and extra deployment of police and paramilitary to prevent protesting farmers entering the Indian capital.
Roads leading to parliament and other important government offices have been blocked along with internet and messaging services in several neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the capital where farmers protests turned violent last week on India’s Republic Day.
“The government has increased security to avoid any clash or violence when parliament is in session,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity. “The idea is to keep everyone safe and avoid any escalation in tensions.”
A farmers’ procession turned violent on January 26 when some protesters broke away from a rally of tractors to storm into the historic Red Fort after breaking through barricades and clashing with police.
On Friday, police used tear gas and batons to break up clashes at one of the protest sites near the city.
“The country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolor [Indian flag] on Jan 26 in Delhi,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a radio address on Sunday, making his first public comments on last week’s violence.
“The government is committed to modernising agriculture and is also taking many steps in that direction,” he said.
The farmers have been protesting for more than two months against three farm laws introduced by Modi’s government and camping outside the capital forcing him to rescind them as they say they would be deprived of their livelihoods.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in parliament.