CHAOS IN CAPITAL: Farmer leaders to address protesters today; 22 FIRs against rioters
Farmer leaders from Punjab will address protesting farmers at one of the key Delhi-Haryana borders on Wednesday, a day after the capital witnessed unprecedented violence as a Republic Day tractor rally by farmers in protest of the centre’s agricultural laws went off the scheduled course and rolled into the iconic Mughal-era Red Fort.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that some antisocial elements were behind it. He claimed that it was due to the Delhi Police’s ‘actions’ that some antisocial elements entered the parade and caused the violence.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesman in a statement also alleged that the Delhi Police had wrongly placed barricades at some places of the pre-decided routes of the parade.
“This was done intentionally to misguide farmers,” Tikait said, adding that because of this, farmers on tractors “went astray giving antisocial elements the opportunity to enter the tractor rally”.
A total of 153 police personnel were injured, with two of them in ICU, after rioting farmers broke barriers to storm the national capital, their tractor parade to highlight their demands dissolving into chaos as they fought with police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
Clashes broke out at multiple places, leading to violence in well-known landmarks of Delhi and its suburbs amid waves of violence that ebbed and flowed through the day.
In a statement, the Delhi police said protesting farmers violated the conditions pre-agreed for their tractor parade and resorted to violence and vandalism, leaving many police personnel injured.
It said legal action would be taken against violent protesters.
The police also claimed the force did all due diligence in following the conditions for the rally, but the protesters began their march much ahead of the scheduled time and extensive damage to public property was caused.
Movement of vehicles in the capital has been hit today as well because Delhi’s ITO junction, which saw violence yesterday, has been closed for traffic. Morning commuters faced trouble after the traffic police put barricades in the junction and asked people to take alternate routes.