Protest ends, clean-up begins: Delhi

Four out of five layers of barricades have been taken down completely.

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As the last of the temporary homes at the Singhu border were deconstructed or packed up, barricades put up by the Delhi Police were taken down on Sunday.

Four out of five layers of barricades have been taken down completely, said a senior police officer at the site, who did not want to be identified. To clear the concrete blocks, heavy machinery was deployed, while shipping containers and concertina wires are yet to be removed. The barricades were secured after the violence started to take place during the farmers’ march on January 26.

“Some of the sturdier structures set up at the protest site are yet to be removed. Once those are cleared tomorrow, the rubble on the road removed, and repairs done, it might be possible to consider opening the highway to traffic two days later,” the police officer said.

Police have also cleared up most of the tents used by the force that was posted at the site round-the-clock. Heaters and coolers for police at the site were sent back on Sunday, and the remaining tents will be dismantled by Monday. “We have multi-layer barricading at Singhu — more than 200 temporary and permanent roadblocks. The roads are likely to be open for vehicular traffic by Monday evening,” said another officer.

At the protest site, in the midst of broken pieces of concrete, bamboo and straw, Gurtej Singh was packing up and getting ready to leave for Bathinda on Monday. He will take with him the makeshift home they had built at the site a year ago.

On Sunday evening, the structure made of bamboo and straw was being strapped onto a multi-axle truck. “We spent a month making it last December. It was a slow, collective effort. The walls are lined with mud that can keep the structure cool in the summer,” said Ravinder Singh from Mohali.

The house will be taken to an orphanage in Bathinda where it will be kept to commemorate the protest, he said. An artist from Bathinda painted the front walls of the structure with images of farmers and their demands.

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