Updated: January 27, 2021 9:06:00 am
The Big Story
In the most violent escalation in two months of generally peaceful protests, hundreds of farmers protesting against the farm laws diverted from agreed routes for a tractor rally, felled barriers at Delhi borders, clashed with police to enter the Capital, and stormed the Red Fort to unfurl the Nishan Sahib, the religious flag of the Sikhs. The chaotic and violent scenes overshadowed the Republic Day event at Rajpath, but the parade remained unaffected.
The Delhi Police had reservations over granting permission for the tractor rally, but a political call was taken to allow the rally rather than letting the farmers take a “more confrontationist” stand, sourced told The Indian Express.
The call to break away from the designated routes, many farm leaders said, was given by some fringe elements, who hijacked the stage at the Singhu border for hours on the night before the rally. Initially, it was some unknown faces, but later Punjabi film actor Deep Sidhu, who campaigned for the BJP’s Sunny Deol in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, addressed the crowd.
The tractor rally from Ghazipur was a splintered affair from start to finish. Tractors broke away from the designated route and got on the flyover to head towards Akshardham, where they were met with teargas shells as police tried to stop them. Despite this, many moved forward and went on to ITO and Red Fort.
The violence that unfolded at ITO lasted for over two hours as thousands of protestors clashed with police personnel, who resorted to teargas shelling and lathi charge. A 27-year-old farmer died allegedly after his tractor overturned, while dozens were injured on both sides. But how did it all begin? Most of the crowd that gathered at ITO had arrived from Ghazipur border after refusing to follow the rally route of Hapur road-KGP Expressway.
The violence on Republic Day will present an opening for the Government to recalibrate its position and press its case that the agitation involves not just farmers but hardline elements as well. Sources also pointed out that the tractor parade going awry could become an “exit point” for the farmers’ unions.
After two sisters were brutally bludgeoned to death by their parents in Andhra Pradesh, police are now trying to piece together the events that led to the murders. “It seems like the whole family was involved in some extreme religious belief. The deaths are a result of this,” said DSP of Madanapalli taluk, Ravi Manohar Achari. What’s even more bizarre is that the couple’s friends and family claim the sisters, too, were involved in the alleged occult practices that led to their deaths.
A stunning ‘Vertical Charlie’ manoeuvre by the Rafale fighter jet, a Bangladesh military contingent to mark 50 years of the 1971 India-Pakistan war — these were some of the standout moments from yesterday’s Republic Day parade, which was shorter and with fewer spectators due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Tuesday ordered temporary suspension of Internet services in parts of Delhi, including Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and their adjoining areas, from 12 noon to midnight.
The BSF unfurled the Tricolour on a 131-foot-high flag post along the India-Pakistan border on the occasion of Republic Day – the tallest ever along the zero line in Jammu and Kashmir.
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