The ‘Delhi Chalo’ farmers’ protest at border points of New Delhi has entered the 63rd day today, with thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, staging a sit-in protest along Delhi borders. The protest started on November 26. After two months of peaceful protests at Delhi’s borders and 11 rounds of negotiations with the central government, the Republic Day tractor parade spiralled into chaos on Tuesday.
One protester died when his tractor overturned while ramming a road barrier at ITO, many farmers and police personnel were injured, as mobs resorted to violence and vandalism while forcing their way to the Red Fort and hoisting their flag there. Over 30 leaders, who have been in talks with the Centre for the last two months over the three farm laws, were booked for rioting, criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and robbery.
The police said “the rioters/protesters and their leaders had a pre-planned objective of not following the mutually agreed route” leading to the violence. At least 19 people have been arrested and 50 detained in connection with the violence so far. The accused, which include farmer leaders, may be asked to surrender their passports as well. This step is taken in order to prevent them from leaving the country.
On Wednesday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, called off the march to Parliament House on February 1. However, it said the farmers’ agitation would continue and there would be public meetings and hunger strikes across the country on January 30. The Republic Day violence had a mixed impact, as the borders seemed emptier with many protestors having mixed opinions from admitting their fault to blaming “mischievous elements” and insisting it was a facade to defame protesters.
Amit Shah also paid a visit to all the police personnel who were injured during the chaos on Republic Day saying “We are proud of their courage and bravery”, while Delhi CM & AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal said, “Strict action should be taken against anyone who is actually responsible for it. Whatever happened on that day cannot stop this movement. We all should support farmers but in a peaceful manner”.