A Day has passed since 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 Red Fort. In order to control the situation and to make sure that farmer's protests are not hijacked by anti-national elements, farmer leaders from Punjab will address the rally of farmers at singhu border.
Over 300 police personnel were injured and 22 cases have been registered against the perpetrators so far. Delhi police said that farmers are planning to march towards parliament on February 1 if the government doesn't take the laws back.
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. The 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.
A key All 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.
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 taken place between the farmers and the government no breakthrough has been achieved so far. 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.