A day after the tractor parade on Republic Day by the protesting farmers on Delhi’s borders took a violent turn, leading to scuffles with the police and the eventual storming of the iconic Red Fort, the gathering at the protest site in Ghazipur thinned significantly on Wednesday.
It was from the Ghazipur site that a sizeable chunk of protesters first broke away on Tuesday from their designated route towards central Delhi. Navneet Singh, the farmer who died in the eventual melee, had been among the ones who left the Ghazipur site on Republic Day.
In the days prior to the tractor parade, the Ghazipur gathering had swelled to several thousands, with tractors and tents spread out across 2.5 kilometres both over and below the flyover.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, the crowd had thinned out and the site seemed a lot quieter. Activities on the stage concluded around 1.45 pm after shraddhanjali (tribute) to the deceased protester, and the numbers, too, shrunk considerably thereafter.
Those present said the numbers dwindled as most who arrived for the Republic Day rally had returned.
“Many people had come from nearby districts and villages for the rally because of which the gathering had increased in size over the last few days. I think there were more people on site even before this increase in the number of protesters. It was because of some mischievous people that things got out of hand yesterday. But our protest will continue peacefully as before,” said Jitender Singh, a protester from Lakhimpur district.