Tractor rally: Deadly clashes push capital into crisis – Here’s how the mayhem unfoldedJanuary 26, 2021
Farmers protests, Tractor rally: A scheduled peaceful tractor rally on Republic Day turned violent at several places in the capital as protesters adamant on deviating from the route agreed upon were stopped by police from entering central Delhi. The farmers were allowed to take out the planned tractor parade in the peripheral region including Delhi’s Outer Ring Road. The farmers unions and Delhi police had both decided the routes and it was agreed upon that they would restrict their rally around the outer region and would not enter central Delhi.
The protesting farmers had agreed to begin their rally after the Republic Day parade was over at Rajpath. However, these in-principle agreements were violated completely when thousands of farmers broke the barricades at ITO to proceed to Red Fort. They vandalised buses and police vehicles, hurled stones during the clash with police near ITO. Protesters succeeded in breaking the barricades as they outnumbered the police personnel. They entered the Red Fort premises and hoisted two separates from the ramparts of Lal Qila.
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Delhi Police have removed protesting farmers from Red Fort premises where they had barged in after clashes with forces near ITO. About thousands of protesters including ‘Nihangs’ (traditional Sikh warriors) had forced their way into the Red Fort and hoisted a flag from the staff from which the prime minister unfurls the tricolour on Independence Day.
Delhi Police Joint CP Shalini Singh said that since morning they had been appealing to farmers to go by pre-approved route but some of them broke police barricades, attacked police personnel. She appealed to farmer unions to help maintain peace. “This isn’t a peaceful protest on Republic Day,” Singh said.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) thanked farmers for the unprecedented participation in today’s Republic Day tractor parade. The union condemned and regretted the “undesirable and unacceptable” events that took place. It dissociated itself from those indulging in clashes and vandalism.
The SKM said that despite all efforts, some organisations and individuals violated the route and indulged in condemnable acts. “Anti-social elements had infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength and any violation would hurt the movement,” the union said.
As protestors clashed with police at several places in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi said violence was not the solution to any problem. He, however, sought rollback of the three farm laws in ‘national interest’. “Violence is not the solution to any problem. If anyone gets hurt, the damage will be done to our country. Take back the anti-agricultural laws in national interest,” he said
MHA has temporarily suspended internet services in the areas of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and their adjoining areas till 12 PM.
Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait said that the farmers knew the people who were trying to create disturbance. “There are people from political parties who are trying to malign the agitation, they are identified,” Tikait said.
Delhi Metro has closed the entry and exit gates of many stations in parts of the national capital. “Entry/exit gates of Indraprastha metro station are closed. Entry/exit gates of Samaypur Badli, Rohini Sector 18/19, Haiderpur Badli Mor, Jahangir Puri, Adarsh Nagar, Azadpur, Model Town, GTB Nagar, Vishwavidyalaya, Vidhan Sabha and Civil Lines are closed,” the DMRC said in a tweet. Entry and exit gates of all stations on the grey line have also been shut.
Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel has condemned actions of the section of farmers who entered Red Fort. He said the actions violated the symbol of dignity of India’s democracy.