Day After Clashes, Farmer Leaders To Address Protesters Today
Union Home minister Amit Shah had held a high-level meeting where a decision was taken to deploy additional paramilitary forces in Delhi. Punjab and Haryana have been placed under high alert.
Farmer leaders from Punjab will address protesting farmers at one of the key Delhi-Haryana borders this morning, a day after the capital witnessed unprecedented violence as a Republic Day tractor rally by farmers in protest of the centre’s agricultural laws went off the scheduled course and rolled into the iconic Mughal-era Red Fort. One farmer died on the way to Red Fort, with the police saying it was an accident. Over 300 police personnel were injured in Tuesday’s violence and 22 cases have been registered, Delhi Police said. Sources said several farmer leaders are among those who have been named in the cases, adding that they are in the process of identifying those behind the violence. A case of conspiracy too has been filed, police sources said. On February 1, the farmers are planning a march to parliament.
Here are the top 10 updates on farmers’ protest
The address by farmer leaders at the Singhu border will be followed by a meeting of these leaders to chart out the next course of action.
Union Home minister Amit Shah held a high-level meeting on Tuesday evening where a decision was taken to deploy additional paramilitary forces in Delhi. Punjab and Haryana have been placed under high alert.
Internet has been suspended in parts of the National Capital Region — including Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Farmers were given police permission to hold the rally on the periphery of the city after a court battle. The rally – to be held over 60-odd-km stretches near the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders – was expected to enter the city on Wednesday only after the Republic Day parade ended around 11.30 am. But the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee refused to stick to the route. By 8 am, thousands entered the national capital on foot. Dramatic visuals showed farmers breaching barriers at the Singhu border, the epicentre of protests against the farm laws that started on November 26.
Violence broke out at central Delhi’s ITO, where the police headquarters is located. A farmer died there as a tractor on way to the Old City overturned, the police said. A bus was vandalized in nearby Akshardham, where the police clashed with protesters. The other flashpoint was Nangloi, where the police used teargas shells. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation shut the gates at several metro stations.
A key pan-India farmers’ group, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, called off the tractor rally, asking participants to return to the protest sites outside Delhi borders. The group also said anti-social elements had “infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement”. “The long struggle for more than 6 months now, and more than 60 days of protest at Delhi borders also seemed to have led to this situation,” it added.
Movement of vehicles in the capital was hit today as well because Delhi’s ITO junction, which saw violence yesterday, was closed for traffic in the morning. Morning commuters faced trouble after the traffic police put barricades in the junction and asked people to take alternate routes. The busy junction was opened by around 11 am.
The violence has been condemned by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party.
Farmers fear the new laws will deprive them of guaranteed minimum earnings and leave them open to exploitation by big business.
Eleven rounds of talks have been held between the farmers and the government but there been no breakthrough. The farmers have turned down the centre’s last offer to put the laws on hold for 18 months while a special committee conducts negotiations.