From teargas on Delhi border to clashes at Red Fort, how R-Day tractor rally devolved into chaos

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

FP Staff January 27, 2021 16:36:36 IST
From teargas on Delhi border to clashes at Red Fort, how R-Day tractor rally devolved into chaos

Farmers break the police barricades at the Ghazipur border as move towards Akshardham during their tractor rally on Republic Day in New Delhi on 26 January. PTI

As India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday,  the National Capital witnesses vandalism and violence after farmers protesting against the Centre's three farm laws clashed with the police at several places.

As per an FIR registered in connection with the incident, clashes broke out after over 10,000 protesting farmers on nearly 600 tractors stormed the ITO, injuring several police personnel and damaging 70 iron barricades.

According to the FIR, the farmers smashed the barricades and hit DTC buses stationed at ITO with their tractors and also tried to run over police personnel.

"Police tried to convince the agitating farmers. However, they were adamant about going to Luytens' area. They also damaged vehicles and equipment of mediapersons," it stated, adding that police used tear gas and resorted to baton charge after protesters deviated from assigned routes for the tractor rally.

While there were no exact estimates of how many farmers were hurt, Delhi Police officials said over 300 perssonel were injured. Of these, 41 were injured at the Red Fort.

A protester died after his tractor overturned near ITO, one of the major flashpoints of trouble.

A brief timeline of how demonstration turned violent:

7 am-9.30 am: Several farmers camping at border points in Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur began entering the National Capital. The protesters broke barricades in Tikri and Singhu borders amid clashes with police.

10 am: The farmers clashed with with Delhi Police personnel near Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar. Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.

10.30 am: As soon as the farmers reached near the Akshardham intersection on the Delhi-Meerut Highway, police fired tear-gas shells. The farmers then pelted stones, breaking windshields of passing trucks as well as DTC buses parked on the road to stop them from moving inside Delhi.

11am: Farmers moved towards Sarai Kale Khan after deviating from the route assigned to them before the conclusion of the Republic Day parade at Rajpath.

The Farmer Ganatantra Rally was scheduled from 12 pm to 5 pm.

Post 12 pm: Protesting farmers from Ghazipur reached ITO intersection in central Delhi, broke barricades and damaged police vehicles and DTC buses. The police force resorted to baton charge and tear gas shells to stop their march towards Red Fort.

Another group of protesters riding tractors, bikes and cars reached Red Fort; clashes between farmers and police followed at both ITO and Red Fort.

1 pm: A farmer named Navneet Singh died after a tractor in which he was travelling overturned near the ITO junction in central Delhi, the police said Tuesday.

CCTV footage of the incident showed a blue tractor crashing through yellow Delhi Police barricades at high speed before rolling over twice and coming to rest by the side of the road.

2.30 pm: Farmers clashed with police personnel near ITO intersection and the ramparts of the Red Fort. Stone pelting was reported.

Post 3 pm: Police removed farmers from Red Fort after resorting to lathi-charge.

MHA ordered suspension of internet services till midnight in areas of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi and adjoining places.

4 pm onwards: Farm union leaders distanced themselves from violence and vandalism, with many claiming that claimed "anti-social" elements had hijacked their peaceful protest

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of the 40 farmers' unions, later dissociated itself from farmers who indulged in violence and called off the tractor rally. "The protest at Delhi's borders will continue peacefully," the group said.

The union also condemned and regretted the "undesirable" and "unacceptable" events as the parade turned violent after several groups of farmers deviated from the pre-decided route for the march.

With inputs from agencies

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