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Monday, March 01, 2021

Farmers’ Protest Highlights: After R-Day violence, farmers cancel march to Parliament on Budget day

Two farmer unions - Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) - Wednesday separated themselves from the ongoing farmer protests at Delhi borders, a day after the protesting farmers engaged in violent clashes with police on Republic Day.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 2, 2021 4:27:54 pm
Farmers protests, Farm Laws, Narendra Singh Tomar, Govt-farmer talks, egotiations on Farm laws, Farmers rally, Tractor march, India news, Indian ExpressFarmer unions holding a press conference on Wednesday.

Farmer unions protesting against the new farm laws Wednesday called off their proposed march to the Parliament on February 1 in view of Republic Day violence. “On Martyrs’ Day, we’ll hold public rallies across India on behalf of the farmers’ agitation. We will also keep a one-day fast. Our March to the Parliament on Feb 1st stands postponed for now due to this (yesterday’s violence),” ANI quoted Balbir S Rajewal, Bhartiya Kisan Union (R), as saying.

Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava Wednesday said the farmer leaders were also involved in the violence that broke out during the tractor rally on Republic Day, adding that they will be questioned. He also said at least 19 persons have been arrested and 50 detained on charges of rioting. The police have also filed 22 FIRs so far that mention the names of at least 10 farm leaders, including Yogendra Yadav and Rakesh Tikait.

Meanwhile, two farmer unions – Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) – Wednesday separated themselves from the ongoing farmer protests at Delhi borders, a day after the protesting farmers engaged in violent clashes with police on Republic Day.

After two months of peaceful protests on Delhi’s borders and 11 rounds of negotiations with the central government, the Republic Day tractor parade spiralled into chaos Tuesday.  One protester died when his tractor overturned while ramming a road barrier at ITO, and scores were injured, as mobs resorted to violence and vandalism while forcing their way to the Red Fort and hoisting their flag there. As the night fell, the Red Fort was secured, the flags removed and protesters made to vacate the premises.

Live Blog

Farmers' Republic Day tractor rally violence: 200 detained, 22 FIRs registered; Yogendra Yadav, Rakesh Tikait named in FIRs; two farm unions call-off protest; security tightened in Delhi.

06:00 (IST)28 Jan 2021
Police evict protesting farmers in UP's Baghpat

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22:01 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Red Fort to remain closed to public from tomorrow, Jan 28, to Jan 31

The Red Fort shall remain closed to public and general visitors from tomorrow, Jan 28, to Jan 31. It was shut today

22:00 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Farmer leaders involved in violence, no culprit will be spared: Delhi police chief

Delhi Police on Wednesday alleged that farmer leaders made inflammatory speeches and were involved in the violence during the tractor parade by agitating farmers that left 394 of its personnel injured, and warned that no culprit will be spared.

Addressing a press conference, Delhi police commissioner S N Srivastava said farmer unions did not follow conditions set for the tractor rally that was supposed to be held from 12 noon to 5 PM and accused them of betrayal. He said not a single life was lost as the Delhi Police showed extreme restraint.

As many as 25 FIRs have been registered so far, Srivastava said. "We are using the facial recognition system and taking the help of CCTV and video footage to identify the accused. Strict action will be taken against those identified. No culprit will be spared," he said. He alleged that some farmer leaders like Satnam Singh Pannu and Darshan Pal gave inflammatory speeches. Thereafter protesters broke barricades. (PTI)

21:37 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Punjab: BJP blames AAP, Congress for emboldening ‘disruptive forces’

Even as national BJP leaders from Punjab maintained a studious silence over the violence in Delhi by protesting farmers, state BJP president Ashwani Sharma Wednesday strongly condemned the violence and squarely blamed AAP and Congress for it. Sharma said that it was because of “surreptitious support” of the Congress and the AAP that disruptive forces had become emboldened to “disgrace the nation” on Republic Day. More details here.

21:01 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Congress, Rahul Gandhi should apologise to nation: Javadekar

Union minister Prakash Javadekar: "Rahul Gandhi wasn't only supporting protest but also instigating. It was the same during CAA, Congress holds rallies, they instigate people to take to streets and agitation begins next day. It happened during this agitation too. They instigated farmers."

He also said the Congress and Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the people of the country. The Union minister also rubbished the links of actor Deep Sidhu with the BJP. Sidhu is accused of leading the mob to Red Fort.

20:54 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Insult to Tricolour won't be tolerated: Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar: "The manner in which there was violence in Delhi yesterday, the more it is condemned, the less it is. Action should be against all of those who instigated others. India won't tolerate the manner in which the Tricolour was insulted at the Red Fort."

"Congress constantly tried to instigate farmers' agitation. When some farmer leaders had said on 26th January that it's final match, then Punjab government should have monitored the tractors leaving from the state and made preventive arrests of habitual criminals."

20:47 (IST)27 Jan 2021
After tractor rally violence, farmers cancel march to Parliament on Budget day

Farmer unions protesting against the new farm laws Wednesday called off their proposed march to the Parliament on February 1 in view of Republic Day violence. "On Martyrs' Day, we'll hold public rallies across India on behalf of the farmers' agitation. We will also keep a one-day fast. Our March to the Parliament on Feb 1st stands postponed for now due to this (yesterday's violence)," ANI quoted Balbir S Rajewal, Bhartiya Kisan Union (R), as saying.

20:36 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Farm leaders also involved in violence, will be questioned, says Delhi Police chief

Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava Wednesday said the farmer leaders were also involved in violence that broke out during tractor rally on the Republic Day, causing damage to public property and injuring over 394 police personnel, PTI reported. 

Shrivastava said the farmer unions did not follow conditions set for tractor rally that was supposed to be held from 12 pm to 5 pm. "Those involved in violence during tractor rally will not be spared, farmer leaders will be questioned," PTI quoted him as saying.

19:59 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Anti-nationals, Modi opponents unleashed anarchy in Delhi: BJP

The Uttarakhand BJP on Wednesday said anarchy unleashed on the streets of Delhi on the Republic Day in the name of farmers' agitation proves that anti-nationals and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's opponents have joined hands.

State BJP vice president Devendra Bhasin also targeted Congress' youth wing for a tweet in which it had tried to "glorify vandalism" at the historic Red Fort.

"Under the pretext of this agitation even Pakistan and some other forces are playing their anti-India game. The anarchy on the streets of Delhi on the Republic Day in the name of farmers' agitation proves once again that anti-nationals and Modi opponents are hand-in-glove," he said.

Bhasin condemned Pradesh Congress's youth wing for trying to "glorify vandalism" at a time when the entire country was outraged over the incident at the Red Fort and said it reflects the party's "anti-national thinking". (PTI)

19:34 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Commuters face hardships due to traffic restrictions on key routes in Delhi

Following the violence on January 26 and updates about heavy traffic raised apprehensions of commuters to Delhi as several cab drivers refused to come to the national capital from adjoining areas on Wednesday.

People travelling from bordering or far-off areas like Noida, Faridabad and Narela, had to either reschedule their plans or wait longer to take cabs or autos.

"No one is willing to go towards central Delhi. They fear roads are blocked, I showed a driver the traffic advisory too, but he did not want to take a risk. I had to go by metro for a particular distance and then take an auto, which also could not drop me till last destination," said a commuter from Noida, who did not wish to be identified.

Another commuter said, "The updates about closure of entry and exit gates of few metro stations are changing every now and then these days and cab drivers are also apprehensive to go. I changed my plans when I couldn't get a cab, will go next week now when situation normalises."

Commuters on Wednesday faced hardships in reaching their destinations due to traffic restrictions on key routes in the national capital, a day after violence broke out during farmers' tractor parade in the city. (PTI)

19:16 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Farmer leaders considering postponement of Feb 1 foot march to Parliament in wake of violence

The protesting farmer leaders are considering postponement of their foot march to Parliament on February 1 against the three farm laws in the wake of violence in the national capital during the tractor parade on Republic Day.

A senior farmer leader said the Samkyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is an umbrella body of the protesting unions, will take a final call on postponement of the February 1 foot march.

"In view of violence during tractor parade, we are considering to postpone our proposed foot march to Parliament, which was scheduled to be take place on February 1. However, a final will be taken by the Samkyukta Kisan Morcha," said a senior member of the umbrella body.

Another member said this was not a favourable time for the foot march to Parliament and it can be deferred. (PTI)

18:33 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Protesters at Masani move back to Haryana-Rajasthan border today

Following an ultimatum by panchayats of 20 villages in Rewari to empty the area, protestors who had been demonstrating at Masani barrage have moved back to the Haryana-Rajasthan border today. Villagers said the ultimatum was given due to yesterday's violence.

18:15 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Some farmers remove tents at site of border protests

Some farmers seen taking off their tents at Chilla border.

17:49 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Not involved in January 26 violence: Lakha Sidhana

Gangster-turned-social activist Lakhbir Singh aka Lakha Sidhana on Wednesday distanced himself from the violence during the tractor parade in New Delhi on Republic Day and he and some farmer leaders only marched up to the Outer Ring Road in the national capital.

"I am pained at the incidents that took place on Tuesday but I am not involved in these. There is no video, photo or other evidence that shows that I instigated people. We had marched towards the Outer Ring Road under our farmer leaders in a peaceful manner. We never had any agenda of going towards the Red Fort," Sidhana, who is in his 40s, told PTI over phone.

He said nearly 20 farmer leaders went till Ring Road with their cadres in a peaceful manner and returned soon after. On being asked that they were not allowed to go up to the Ring Road, Sidhana claimed popular sentiment was in support of it as farmer unions had announced first on January 2 and then on January 17 that they will carry out the tractor rally there.

He accused the government and police of conspiring against the farmers' agitation and distanced himself from the allegations of instigating protesters, saying he always called for peace. (PTI)

17:48 (IST)27 Jan 2021
BJP planted stooge Deep Sidhu to create chaos in tractor rally: AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday alleged that the BJP planted its "stooge" actor Deep Sidhu to create "chaos" in farmers' tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day.

At a press conference, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha, while questioning the connection between Sidhu and BJP, showed several photos purportedly of the actor with various BJP leaders.

"The BJP planted their stooge Deep Sidhu to create chaos in farmers' tractor parade," Chadha said. (PTI)

17:32 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Why didn't Centre have intelligence on possibility of violence: TMC

Trinamool Congress: How could protesters enter into Red Fort breaching security. Why didn't Centre have intelligence inputs on possibility of violence during farmers' tractor parade in Delhi. (PTI)

17:16 (IST)27 Jan 2021
'Modi govt wants to malign farmers movement', says Congress, demands Amit Shah's resignation

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi-led central government of maligning the farmers' protest over the Republic Day violence in Delhi and demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah for failing to maintain law and order in the national capital. 

At a press conference, Surjewala asked how did Deep Sidhu, who was clicked with PM Modi and Amit Shah, managed to take protesters to the Red Fort. "This is the conspiracy by the government to remove the protesters," he said.

17:10 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Famers take out march at Tikri border
16:51 (IST)27 Jan 2021
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) breaks away from protesting farm factions

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) leader Bhanu Pratap Singh has parted ways with farm protests, condemning the Republic Day violence. 

16:37 (IST)27 Jan 2021
All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee breaks away from protesting farm factions

A day after the protesting farmers clashed with the police on Republic Day, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination leader V M Singh has said his faction is breaking away from the protest. 'We can't carry forward a protest with someone whose direction is something else. So, I wish them the best but VM Singh and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee are withdrawing from this protest right away,' ANI quoted him as saying.

He also blamed BKU's Rakesh Tikait for pressuring the farmers to take a different route than the one designated for the tractor rally on Republic Day.

Farmers protest LIVE updates: Sharad Pawar to address farmers' rally at Mumbai's Azad Maidan Tractors at Ghazipur border for the farmers' Republic Day march, in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Even as the Delhi police said the clashes had led to "extensive damage to public property" and injuries to "many policemen", the Samyukta Kisan Morcha issued a statement distancing itself from the ‘violent elements’. The farmer body strongly condemned the incidents. and called off the tractor rally with immediate effect while maintaining that the movement will continue peacefully.

Farmer leaders have also announced a plan to march on foot to Parliament on February 1, the day the Union Budget will be presented.

On Tuesday, as a section of protesters stormed the Red Fort, Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with top officials of the MHA, Delhi Police and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) at his residence. At the meeting, which began around 4.30 pm and continued for one-and-a-half hours, Shah reviewed the security arrangements and discussed the next course of action to defuse the tension.

A decision was taken to deploy additional forces from paramilitary units and suspend Internet in some areas of the National Capital Region, including SinghuGhazipurTikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi. Sources said five additional companies of the CRPF were ordered to assist the Delhi Police. This was in addition to 115 companies already at the disposal of Delhi Police for law and order duties. Fifteen of these companies had been pressed into duty Monday.

But, sources said, the security forces were overwhelmed by the sheer number and aggression of the protesters. “There were cumulatively around 1 lakh protesters and hundreds of tractors. The forces were overwhelmed but showed restraint and did not fire. They had been told not to,” said an official.

Till noon on Tuesday, when farmers had already broken through barricades at the borders, the Delhi Police kept receiving inputs about the possibility of protesters marching towards Rajpath and Red Fort. At 12.30 pm, a message sent by the Special Branch of Delhi Police to all DCPs and senior officers read: “Inputs have been received that the reaching of farmers with tractors to Rajpath, India Gate, Red Fort, Ramlila Ground, Rashtrapati Bhawan, PM residence, HM residence, Parliament House, CM House and LG House cannot be ruled out… It is suggested that adequate and prompt arrangements by local police, including women personnel, PCR, and traffic, may be deployed.”

By then, senior officers said, things had already spun out of control, and many protesters had breached border areas to spill onto roads that were not part of the designated protest route. According to senior officers, police presence on these routes was sparse on account of several personnel being deployed for Republic Day arrangements and along the three designated routes.

The Delhi Police said the protesting farmers violated conditions agreed for the tractor rally. "Farmers began tractor parade before the scheduled time, resorted to violence and vandalism. Farmers' protest led to extensive damage to public property, many policemen injured," the police said in a statement.