From Our India Correspondent
ON TUESDAY 26th January, Indian Republic Day, a huge parade took place of at least 37 farm unions.
In this rally, they covered around 100 kilometres of the national capital. The rally started from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh region, and reached Delhi, where they clashed with the police.
The police used tear gas and the situation took a violent turn after a few farmers were injured and one young farmer, aged 27 named Navneet Singh from Bajpur, was shot dead by the police.
Police are trying to cover it up by saying the farmer died because his tractor overturned.
The farmers hurled stones and the incident was no less than a battlefield.
The farmers were trying to reach Red Fort. Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee’s Satnam Singh Pannu had earlier said, ‘We want to move towards Ring Road but police are stopping us. We’ve given them 45 minutes to speak to their seniors.
‘We’re carrying out a peaceful parade. The route they are asking us to follow wasn’t agreed upon.’
The agitating farmers broke barricades at Ghazipur, Apsara, Tikri and Singhu borders earlier in the day in a bid to enter the national capital.
January 26, 2021 was a Republic Day like no other, at least in recent memory. The national capital, that generally turns into a secured fortress for the occasion, appeared defenceless as hundreds of protesters barged through police barricades, resulting in violent confrontation with the cops.
Farmers atop tractors, on motorcycles and some on horses, broke police barricades to enter Delhi at least two hours before they were supposed to start their tractor march.
Protesting farmers removed police barricades as they marched to the capital during Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.
The protesters broke through steel and concrete barriers leading to pitched battles with cops in several areas of the national capital.
At some places, the crowds were seen chasing cops with sticks after police fired teargas shells to disperse them.
Police resorted to lathicharge (a lathi is an ironclad baton) and used teargas to disperse protesting farmers who were attempting to break barricades at Ghazipur border during their tractor march on Republic Day.
Central Delhi resembled a war zone with a car being vandalised by angry protesters and shells, bricks and stones littering the wide streets.
Similar tensions were witnessed in other parts of the national capital too.
Police lathi-charged farmers at Chintamani Chowk in Shahdara when they broke barricades and smashed windowpanes of cars.
A group of ‘Nihangs’ (traditional Sikh warriors) clashed with security personnel near Akshardham Temple.
Nihang protesters were on horses carrying swords and made their way through Central Delhi leading the march
At Nangloi Chowk in West Delhi and at Mukarba Chowk, farmers broke through cement barricades and police used tear gas to disperse them.
The situation worsened further as a section of protesters reached the Red Fort on their tractors and on foot, and stormed its ramparts.
The protesters climbed on to the ramparts of the Red Fort and waved their flags. One of them climbed the flagpost where the Tricolour is hoisted by the Prime Minister of India on Independence Day and hoisted a religious flag there.
Farmers’ leaders who have been leading the two-month-old agitation on the outskirts of Delhi and have been engaged in talks with the government, distanced themselves from the violence.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 41 farmer unions, alleged that some ‘anti-social elements’ infiltrated their otherwise peaceful movement.
The union also condemned and regretted the ‘undesirable’ and ‘unacceptable’ events as the parade turned violent after several groups of farmers deviated from the pre-decided route for the march.
‘We dissociate ourselves from all such elements that have violated our discipline.
‘We appeal strongly to everyone to stick to the route and norms of the parade, and not indulge in any violent action or anything that taints national symbols and dignity. We appeal to everyone to desist from any such acts.’
Dharminder Singh, a young protester who has been part of the protest for 62 days has set up his tent at the Delhi border.