Chaos prevailed at several places in the national capital Tuesday after stick-wielding farmers clashed with police and entered the iconic Red Fort and ITO on Republic Day. In unprecedented scenes, after entering the Red Fort complex, protesters attempted to climb the domes and the ramparts, some clambering up the flagpole to hoist a flag from the same place the prime minister unfurls the tricolour from on Independence Day.
Police later removed protesting farmers from Red Fort premises.
ITO, particularly, witnessed chaotic scenes as protesters could be seen chasing police personnel with sticks and ramming their tractors into the buses parked by police. Amid all this, a protesting farmer also died after his tractor overturned at ITO, police told PTI.
While the Delhi Police had given permission to farmers protesting against Centre’s three farm laws to conduct their parade on pre-selected routes only, chaos ensued as farmers were adamant on heading towards central Delhi. Security personnel then resorted to lathicharge and tear gas on protesters after hundreds of farmers deviated from their pre-determined routes.
Earlier in the day, groups of protesting farmers camping at Singhu and Tikri border points of the national capital broke police barricades to force their way into the city.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points since November 28, demanding a complete repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.
Police use baton charge, tear gas on farmers at Nangloi Chowk
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police resorted to baton charge and fired tear gas shells on farmers at Nangloi Chowk in West Delhi after they attempted to deviate from the pre-agreed route to enter the national capital. The agitating farmers broke cement barricades at Nangloi Chowk and Mukarba Chowk following which the police used heavy tear gas shells to disperse the unruly crowd, PTI quoted an official as saying.
The official said that police personnel used tear gas to disperse groups of farmers coming from the Singhu border point as they tried to take out a march on the Outer Ring Road much ahead of the allotted time.
In Shahdara, Police baton charged farmers at Chintamani Chowk when they broke barricades and smashed window panes of cars. A group of ‘Nihangs’ (traditional Sikh warriors) also clashed with security personnel near Akshardham Temple.
The Delhi Police, on their part, also appealed to the protesting farmers to not take law in their hands and asked the farmers to head back to their pre-decided routes for the tractor parade. “We request to the protesting farmers to not take law in their hands and maintain peace,” Additional PRO Anil Mittal told PTI.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha distances itself from ‘violent elements’
As chaos ensued, farm union leaders distanced themselves from what was going on.
“We dissociate ourselves from all such elements that have violated our discipline. Antisocial elements infiltrated our otherwise peaceful movement. We condemn and regret undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today during farmers’ protest. We thank farmers for unprecedented participation in ‘Farmers’ Republic Day Parade’,” Samyukta Kisan Morcha told PTI.
Centre orders internet shutdown in areas close to protest sites in Delhi
Amid protests, the Centre also ordered shut down of internet services in parts of Delhi-NCR. A government order sent to telecom service providers directed temporary suspension of internet services in areas of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi and their adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi from 12.00 hours to 23.59 hours on the Republic Day, according to the Department of Telecom, reported PTI.
A Department of Telecom spokesperson told PTI that the internet shutdown order has been invoked by the local law and order administration and not by the department.
Union Minister Prahlad Patel condemns actions of a section of farmers
Union Minister of Tourism and Culture Prahlad Patel condemned the actions of a section of farmers and said it violated the symbol of dignity of India’s democracy. In a tweet today, Patel said, “The Red Fort is a symbol of the dignity of our democracy. The farmers should have stayed away from it. I condemn the violation of this dignity. It is sad and unfortunate.”
<p “width=420″ lang=”hi” dir=”ltr”>लालकिला हमारे लोकतंत्र की मर्यादा का प्रतीक है,आन्दोलनकारियों को लालक़िले से दूर रहना चाहिए था।इसकी मर्यादा उलंघन की मै निंदा करता हूँ ।यह दुखद और दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है @PMOIndia @JPNadda @incredibleindia @ASIGoI @MinOfCultureGoI @tourismgoi @BJP4India @BJP4MP— Prahlad Singh Patel (@prahladspatel) January 26, 2021
Rahul Gandhi says violence is not solution, calls for repeal of farm laws
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asserted that violence is not the solution to any problem even as he sought repeal of the three farm laws in “national interest”.
Gandhi took to Twitter to say that if anyone gets hurt the damage will be inflicted to the country, after violence broke out during the tractor parade by protesters against the new farm laws.
<p “width=420″ lang=”hi” dir=”ltr”>हिंसा किसी समस्या का हल नहीं है। चोट किसी को भी लगे, नुक़सान हमारे देश का ही होगा।
देशहित के लिए कृषि-विरोधी क़ानून वापस लो!— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 26, 2021
“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 in a tweet in Hindi.
The Congress also tweeted a video showing smoke from tear gas shells lobbed at farmers to stop them from entering Delhi.
“Republic Day 2021 in New India. Our national capital is up in smoke as the government attacks its own people,” the party said on its official Twitter handle along with the video.
<p “width=420″ lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Republic Day 2021 in New India.
The opposition party also said that it is standing strongly behind the farmers in their protest against the farm laws.