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Friday, February 26, 2021

‘Violence not a solution’: Rahul Gandhi on farmer-police clashes

Thousands of protesting farmers clashed with police at several places in Delhi on Republic Day.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 26, 2021 2:42:49 pm
Farmers attempt to break police barricade as march towards Delhi near Nangloi on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

As protesting farmers clashed with police at several places in Delhi on Republic Day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said violence was never the solution to any problem and appealed to the Centre to scrap the three contentious farm laws.

Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said, “Violence is not the solution to any problem. If anyone gets hurt, the damage will happen to our country. Take back the anti-farmer law for the benefit of the country.”

BJP MP from North-East Delhi Gautam Gambhir said, “Violence and vandalism will lead us nowhere. I urge everyone to maintain peace & honour agreements. Today is not the day for such chaos.”

The violence at ITO 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.

Follow latest updates |liveFarmers tractor rally in Delhi

Police used tear gas on groups of farmers and resorted to baton charge as protestors broke past barricades with tractors at different border points. Farmers also entered Red Fort premises, breaching police barricades, attacking personnel and even vandalising a bus at ITO. The farmers also hoisted a flag on a flagstaff at Red Fort which was later pulled down by the police.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said, “Shocking scenes in Delhi. The violence by some elements is unacceptable. It’ll negate goodwill generated by peacefully protesting farmers. Kisan leaders have disassociated themselves & suspended Tractor Rally. I urge all genuine farmers to vacate Delhi & return to borders.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held the Centre’s “insensitive attitude” for violent clashes between protesting farmers and police in Delhi today.

The Aam Aadmi Party strongly condemned the violence during today’s clashes between farmers and police forces. “AAP strongly condemns the violence in today’s protest. It is regrettable that the Central Government allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent. The movement has been peaceful for the last two months,” AAP MLA Raghav Chadha tweeted.

“Farmer leaders have said that those who indulged in today’s violence were not part of the movement but were external elements. Whosoever they may be, the violence has certainly weakened the movement which was going on peacefully and in a disciplined manner.”

Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor said, “Most unfortunate. I have supported the farmers’ protests from the start but I cannot condone lawlessness. And on Republic Day no flag but the sacred tiranga should fly aloft the Red Fort.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury called out the police for lathicharging the protesters. “Tear gassing & lathicharging Kisans is unacceptable. Why, after the Delhi Police & Samyukt Kisan Morcha agreement? Why is the government provoking a confrontation. They must allow the peaceful, agreed tractor parade to continue,” he tweeted.

Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel said, “The Red Fort is a symbol of the dignity of our democracy, the agitators should have stayed away from the Red Fort. I condemn the violation of its dignity. It is sad and unfortunate.”

DMK president M K Stalin said the Centre’s approach on farm laws issue was the reason for violence in Delhi. He demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold talks with protesting farmers.

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “Disturbing images of protest going out of control at the Red Fort. Tricolour disrespect is unacceptable. Any violence in a democracy is unacceptable. Law must be supreme. No side wins, the nation loses. Sad day for the Republic.”

Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said, “It is unfortunate that some farmers on tractors have deviated from the pre agreed & designated route. It is extremely important for the farmers to go back to the designated route&above all remain totally non-violent. Any indiscipline or violence will seriously damage the movement.”

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