The farmer’s tractor rally/march marks two months of the protest by the farmers against the central government and the proposed farm bills. The farmers and the Central Government have not been able to get into a consensus regarding the new bills which sparked various controversies, an array of protests, and ripples of discontentment across the nation. It is one of the longest farmers-led agitations India has ever seen. There has been a constant demand to roll back the new laws.
Here are the developments that have taken so far:
Initial plan: After several rounds of talks and discussions, the Delhi police allowed this rally to take place today on the condition that it would not disrupt the peaceful and eminent Republic Day parade and celebration of 2021. The orders allowed the tractor rally to be held post the Republic Day parade at Rajpath. Specific routes were handed over to the farmers and they were expected to follow the same for peaceful and orderly communication. The rally was expected to begin from six entry points to Delhi and the Delhi police had barricaded all of them. The routes involved roads on the outskirts of the city.
The support: The whole country has been debating on the farm laws. Both the parties and points of arguments have been carefully placed and taking rounds on social media, digital and print platforms, and more. Ahead of the rally, there was a huge amount of support was garnered by the rally. An overwhelming display of support was seen on Monday across various designated highways meant for the farmers that would be coming down to Delhi for the rally. Youngsters in an overpowering number came to push and support the farmers. As reported by The Indian Express Till late night, there was a heavy rush of vehicles including tractors, bikes, jeeps, trucks, buses, and cars — on the National Highway-44. Farmers in Karnataka also showed solidarity with the protest.
The shift in plans: The tractor march, unfortunately, took a violent approach. Earlier this morning, the farmers broke the barricades at several spots in Delhi where they had been protesting. Farmer leaders reported that an approx of 500 tractors left for the rally from Punjab initially and smaller batches of tractors subsequently joined them from various villages like Phagwara, Hoshiarpur, and more.
The Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 41 unions has alleged that the barricades were broken by members of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee. Reportedly, The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee had announced on Monday that they would hold their march on Delhi’s busy Outer Ring Road on Republic Day.
After removing most of the barricades at the Singhu and Tikri border points, the farmers also broke the barricades at the Ghazipur border. Some of the farmers also took on foot for the rally due to the traffic congestion caused by the huge number of tractors along with Delhi’s normal traffic scenario.
The violent chaos: Several farmers and tractors reached Delhi way before the designated time which led to chaos and also disruption in the plans. A possible stride of violence could be sensed. Drones were put to use amid high-security arrangements at the Faridabad-Palwal border. As the constant chaos prevailed, the police personnel and farmers tried to have a conversation but all in vain. The police resorted to lathi-charge after the protestor’s crowd turned uncontrollable. At the Singhu border, teargas was soon fired at the protesting farmers. Tear gas with lathi charge followed at the Ghazipur borders too. Several spots in Delhi had lathi charges. There were water cannons involved.
Traffic: The traffic has been uncontrollable. The traffic jams only worsened at the entry spots. The farmers deviated from the designated route and reached Central Delhi which was not part of the initial plan. The scene at ITO also worsened. Some of the protestors reportedly vandalised a bus. Teargas and lathi charge again followed.
Several parts of Delhi were affected due to it. The Delhi traffic police informed this through Twitter. “Traffic is very heavy on GTK road, Outer Ring Road, Badli road, KN Katzu Marg, Madhuban Chowk, Kanjhawala Road, Palla Road, Narela & DSIDC Narela roads. Please avoid these roads. Traffic is very heavy on Wazirabad road, ISBT road, GT road, Pushta road, Vikas marg, NH-24, Road no. 57, Noida link road. Please avoid these roads,” the tweet read.
Casualty: Reportedly there was one person killed at protests in ITO on Tuesday. Several injuries have been reported both by the protestors as well as the police officers.
Red Fort: The protesting farmers deviated from the predestined routes and ended up marching inside the Red Fort. Reportedly, as seen there have been flags other than the National flag that was hoisted. The protestors were out of control and the Red Fort was fully occupied by the protestors and tractors from all possible areas.
Political leaders: Several leaders have condemned this action. The leaders also asked the protestors to maintain peace.
BJP MP, North-East Delhi Gautam Gambhir tweeted, “Violence and vandalism will lead us nowhere. I urge everyone to maintain peace & honour agreements. Today is not the day for such chaos.”
Shashi Tharoor also tweeted : “Most unfortunate. I have supported the farmers’ protests from the start but I cannot condone lawlessness. And on #RepublicDay no flag but the sacred tiranga should fly aloft the Red Fort.”
Further communication: Entry/exit gates of all stations on the grey line of Delhi Metro are closed. There has been an order issued regarding the suspension of all telecom services. There has been a temporary suspension of Telecom services in border areas of Delhi – Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi, and their adjoining areas from 12:00 pm to 11:59 pm on Tuesday. This has been done keeping in mind the safety of the public, the order read.
We hope for the safety of all.