Farmers Clash With Cops In Heart Of Delhi, Drive Tractors Into Red Fort


Message Delivered, Will Vacate Red Fort, Say Farmers: 10 Points

Farmers were seen shouting slogans at the iconic Red Fort.

New Delhi: Thousands of protesting farmers who stormed into Delhi with their tractor rally this morning, poured into the Red Fort complex by afternoon, as violence continued in parts of the city. Visuals from the spot showed them climbing a flagpole below the ramparts of the iconic Mughal fort, from where the Prime Minister addresses the nation on Independence Day. Tractors took over the Ramlila Maidan outside the fort, the original site where they had planned their protest. The farmers, who were heard saying that they will not leave Delhi, are expected to move back after negotiations by the Delhi Police. Violence started in the morning as farmers broke barricades and entered Delhi ahead of time and veered from the agreed upon route. Videos from various spots showed them clashing with the police, throwing stones and using rods.

Here are 10 developments in this big story:

  1. Visuals from the Red Fort showed farmers hoisting a sacred flag of Sikhs at a second flagpole. Thousands of others, carrying the national flag, stood at the huge gates of the fort. The police were seen trying to control the crowd in vain.

  2. “We came here to deliver a message to the Modi government, our job is done. We will go back now,” one of the farmers told NDTV at the Red Fort. “We managed to reach the Fort even though they tried to stop us. We will not stop till we reach our goal – the repeal of the three farm laws,” another farmer said.

  3. Farmers were given police permission to enter the periphery of the city for their tractor rally on the Republic Day after a court battle. It was to be a peaceful rally with a designated route that was agreed upon by farmers. But last evening, one of the participants – the   Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee – – said they would not stick to the course.

  4. Even the agreed upon time for start of the rally – 10 am, was tweaked. The rally, which was to start from 3 spots outside the Delhi borders, was not expected to enter Delhi before the traditional Republic Day parade by the armed forces at Rajpath ended around 11.30 am.

  5. Crowds, however, swelled at the borders at around 8 AM even before the parade started and thousands entered the national capital on foot. Dramatic visuals showed farmers breaching barriers at the Singhu border near Haryana, the epicentre of protests against the farm laws that began late November.

  6. In central Delhi’s ITO, a police bus was hijacked. Another clip from Akshardham showed policemen on an overbridge firing tear gas shells on the protesters standing on the road looking for a cover. Protesters were also seen vandalising a bus even as the leaders repeatedly insisted the protests will be “peaceful”. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today closed the entry and exit gates at several metro stations.

  7. The Delhi Police has been repeatedly appealing to the protesters to maintain calm.

  8. Three routes were cleared for the farmers to hold the parade – 63-km route near Singhu Border,  62.5 km-long route  from Tikri border, a 68-km long route from Ghazipur border that divides Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.  However, they reached central Delhi’s ITO, 20 km from the planned route.

  9. Earlier, the centre had opposed the tractor rally on Republic Day in an affidavit in the Supreme Court, stressing it will be “an embarrassment to the nation”.

  10. Eleven rounds of talks have been held between the farmers and the government but there been no breakthrough. The farmers have turned down the centre’s last offer to put the laws on hold for 18 months while a special committee conducts negotiations.