fought pitched battles at the points where the latter have hunkered down since the start of the agitation in November, and also ITO.
A police person fires tear-gas as farmers
break barricades near Akshardham
The police fired teargas shells and used the baton on the protestors as the farmers made a determined bid to enter central Delhi, where the Republic Day’s main function was being held.
In ITO, a car was damaged by protesters, and shells, bricks, and stones littered the wide streets, a testimony to the fact that the movement, which had been peaceful for two months, was no longer so. A similar situation prevailed in the border areas as well while filing this report.
The situation came to a head when a group of protesters reached the Red Fort
and unfurled a religious flag at the same place where the prime minister hoists the tri-colour every year on August 15.
Just a few days before the proposed tractor parade, the leaders of the protesting farmer unions had finalised the route the tractor parade would take and had assured all it would be peaceful.
However, during the protests, all the assurances seemed to have been thrown to the wind, with farmers breaking resistance well before the appointed time of 11:30 am, deviating from the route, and also carrying more than the permitted number of people on their vehicles.
Most farmer leaders of the 41-member SKM, which has been spearheading the agitation, were not present to control the situation when the protestors had a free run of the central part of the city.
Later in the day, the SKM gave a statement disassociating itself from the violence, saying some “anti-social elements” infiltrated their otherwise peaceful movement.
“We thank farmers for the unprecedented participation in today’s farmers’ Republic Day
Parade. We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts,” the SKM said.
The Delhi police closed the entry and exit gates of at least 20 metro stations and stopped trains for over two hours at Tilak Bridge railway station after the protestors reached ITO.
The government ordered suspending internet services in parts of Delhi-NCR. It also shut down the internet till Tuesday midnight in Delhi’s Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and their adjoining areas, which are some of the places where the farmers have dug in their heels.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had a high-level meeting of officials to assess the situation. After this 15 companies of central armed forces were deployed across the city while the Delhi Police commissioner has been asked to deal with the protesters strictly.
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