Farmer unions call off Budget day march to Parliament in wake of Delhi violence, plan hunger strike for 30 Jan
A farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal claimed that over two lakh tractors and lakhs of people participated in Tuesday's parade and 99.9% of the protesters were peaceful
As cracks began to appear in their ongoing agitation against the agri laws, farmer unions on Wednesday cancelled their planned march to Parliament on 1 February when the Budget would be presented.
The decision by farmer unions came a day after massive violence during their tractor parade in the national capital that left nearly 400 police personnel injured.
The farmer leaders, however, alleged that there was a conspiracy behind Tuesday's incidents and demanded a probe.
They said their agitation against the farm laws will continue and public meetings and hunger strikes will be held across the country on 30 January.
"The tractor parade was hit by a government conspiracy. Deep Sidhu is an RSS man. Police let him go after he hoisted a religious flag at Red Fort," farmer leader Darshan Pal, who has been accused by police of making inflammatory speeches, alleged at a press conference.
Sidhu is a former aide of actor and BJP MP Sunny Deol. Deol had distanced himself from Sidhu in December after he supported the farmers' agitation.
"We have cancelled our plan for a march to Parliament on budget day on February 1. But our agitation will continue and there will be public meetings and hunger strike across the country on January 30, " Pal said.
Another farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal claimed that over two lakh tractors and lakhs of people participated in Tuesday's parade and "99.9 percent of the protesters were peaceful".
Even as the farmer unions continued to allege that "anti-social" elements had perpetrated the violence to "torpedo" their peaceful agitation against the farm laws, Tuesday's incidents that have been widely condemned started taking a toll with Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination
Committee withdrawing from the protests on the Delhi's borders.
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, who has been supporting the farmers' agitation, said, "We regret the Red Fort incident and accept its moral responsibility. The incident should be probed. There is a conspiracy behind it"
Responding to a question on farmer leaders being named in FIR, Yadav said, "FIR, jail and torture are rewards of movements".
"We have video clippings and we will expose how a conspiracy was hatched to defame our movement," Shivkumar Kakka said.
As many as 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, have been named in an FIR in connection with the violence during the tractor parade.
Wielding sticks and clubs and holding the tricolour and union flags, tens of thousands of farmers atop tractors broke barriers, clashed with police and entered the city from various points to lay siege to the Red Fort during the Republic Day.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, since 28 November, demanding a complete repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.
'Farmer leaders betrayed us': Delhi Police chief on R-Day violence; lauds restraint showed by personnel
The Delhi Commissioner also informed the press that as many as 394 police personnel were injured during the clashes while 30 police vehicles were damaged, adding that the police showed extreme restraint in handling the situation
Delhi man petitions HC to remove people 'squatting under garb' of farmers agitation, sack police commissioner
Petitioner Dhananjai Jain also sought direction to the Centre to put adequate paramilitary forces to protect important monuments and to ensure safety of life and property of citizens of Delhi
Six DTC buses and five police vehicles were damaged in the clashes that broke out at ITO during the farmers' tractor rally in the Delhi-NCR, according to an FIR registered in connection with the incident