New Delhi: As India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day today, groups of protesting farmers entered the historic Red Fort and hoisted flags after clashing with police officers in the national capital. Today’s protest was the culmination of farmers’ agitation, which has been going on for over two months as the stand-off between the government and the farmers continues over the three farm laws, enacted in September, to deregulate the farming sector. Small farmers fear the changes will mean the end of guaranteed minimum prices for their crops and leave them at the mercy of big retailers. Protests, lathicharge, tear gas shells and chaos were reported from several areas of national capital. One farmer died after his speeding tractor overturned near the ITO junction in central Delhi.Also Read - Delhi Turns Fortress Ahead of Republic Day, Over 27,000 Personnel Deployed | A Look Into Security Arrangements
Here’s how farmers protest unfolded in Delhi today:
1) After clashes broke out in multiple places, leading to violence in well-known landmarks of Delhi and its suburbs, Delhi Police officials said 86 of their men were injured through the day. Of these, 41 were injured at the Red Fort. Also Read - Delhi Police Arrests Man For Molesting JNU Scholar in Campus
2) During the violent agitation, a protester died after his tractor overturned near ITO, one of the major flashpoints of trouble. Farmers, atop tractors, on motorcycles and some on horses, broke barricades to enter the city at least two hours before they were supposed to start the tractor march at noon sanctioned by authorities. Also Read - Republic Day: Delhi Police Issues Travel Advisory For Parade Dress Rehearsal On Jan 22, 23. Details Here
3) As tension spiralled, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs deployed additional paramilitary troops. The exact number of additional troops was not known immediately but officials suggested it could be around 1,500 to 2,000 personnel (about 15 to 20 companies).
4) In an effort to control the violence, the MHA also decided to temporarily suspend internet services in parts of Delhi, including Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri and their adjoining areas, for 12 hours from Tuesday noon.
5) However, farmer leaders, who have been spearheading the protest at the national capital’s border points to demand a repeal of the farm laws, dissociated themselves from the protests that had taken such an unseemly turn and left in tatters their two-month peaceful movement.
6) Issuing a statement, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 41 farmer unions, formally called off the tractor parade and appealed to farmers to return to their respective protest sites. However, the Morcha alleged that some “antisocial elements” had infiltrated their otherwise peaceful movement.
7) Delhi Police on Tuesday said it has registered four FIRs in connection with the protesting farmers’ tractor parade in the national capital. “Three FIRs were registered in east district and one in Shahdara district on Tuesday,” a police official said.
Delhi Police also said that over 300 barricades were broken, and 17 government vehicles were damaged during the chaos.
8) Meanwhile, chief of the Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Gurnam Singh Chaduni accused Punjabi singer and actor Deep Sidhu of inciting and misguiding protesters. “He (Deep Sidhu) led them to the Red Fort. Farmers never wanted to go to Red Fort,” BKU’s Haryana unit chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said. Congress Lok Sabha MP Ravneet Singh Bittu also claimed that it was Deep Sidhu who unfurled the flag at Red Fort.
9) Issuing a statement, the Indian Railways said passengers who missed their trains on Tuesday because of the violent protests in Delhi can apply for full refund. “The passengers are requested to apply for a full refund of all the trains departing from all the stations of Delhi area up to 2100 hrs today through TDR (ticket deposit receipt) and e-TDR for e-tickets,” the Indian Railways said.
10) High alerts have been sounded in Punjab and Haryana with mobile internet services being suspended in three districts of Sonipat, Jhajjar and Palwal until 5 PM Wednesday. Haryana Roadways bus services to Delhi were also affected in the wake of the events in the national capital, with a senior Transport Department official saying they were assessing the situation.