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Hope sanity prevails!

Editorial CAITLYN SAMPLEY AGGIE


At least one person was killed on Tuesday after his tractor overturned during protests at ITO in New Delhi as thousands of farmers entered the national capital to carry out their proposed rally in protest against the farm bills. Groups of protesting farmers entered Red Fort after breaching police barricades, attacking personnel and even vandalising a bus at ITO. The chaos unfolded despite the police giving farmers camping at Delhi’s three borders — Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur — permission to hold rallies on specific routes, only after the official Republic Day parade at Rajpath. As per the agreement, farmers were to remain in the adjoining areas of the borders and not venture towards Central Delhi. At Singhu, amid the chaos, the police resorted to lathicharge and tear gas to control the protesters. The tractor rally marked the completion of two months of protest against the Centre’s contentious farm laws by farmers camping at the borders of Delhi. Farmer leaders also announced a plan to march on foot to Parliament on February 1, the day the Union Budget will be presented. Meanwhile, senior farmer Balbir Singh Rajewal said farmers were following the pre-decided route. No one from Samyukta Kisan Morcha the went to the Outer Ring Road. He condemned the violence and appealed all to maintain peace. The situation turned a bit ugly even as the Union Home Ministry ordered to temporarily suspend telecom services in border areas of Delhi – Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi — from 12:00 pm to 11:59 pm after clashes between protesting farmers and security personnel escalated. Later, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha issued a joint statement on clashes during farmers’ protest, distancing itself from the ‘violent elements’. The chaos in Delhi several reactions. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held the Centre’s “insensitive attitude” responsible for violent clashes between protesting farmers and police in Delhi. “First, these laws were passed without taking farmers in confidence. And then despite protests across India & farmers camping near Delhi for last 2 months, they’ve been extremely casual in dealing with them. Centre should engage with the farmers & repeal the draconian laws,” she tweeted. The incidents of violence in Delhi on Republic Day are condemnable since until the day, the farmers have set up examples of brotherhood, harmony, and peaceful use of their right to protest against the laws they claim are not in the best interests of the entire farming community. The farmers defied the social media troll armies who were hell bent on defaming them and tried their best to inject conspiracy theories in digital and public discourse to demean the farmers. One only hopes that sanity prevails and the farmers do not let such incidents spoil their democratic right to protest peacefully against the demands they consider are just. One suggests that the Centre takes a step backward and views this issue with more wisdom to reach a new conclusion that is beneficial to all, especially the farming community.