After violent clashes with police, farmers swarm Red Fort
New Delhi, January 26, 2021
In unexpected developments, hundreds of protesting farmers swarmed the historic Red Fort here on Tuesday as their "tractors rally", planned to coincide with the 72nd Republic Day, turned violent and led to chaotic scenes at several places in the national capital.
Dramatic scenes were earlier witnessed after the agitating farmers clashed with the Delhi Police near the ITO intersection in central Delhi, with the police firing tear gas shells and resorting to lathi charge to disperse the farmers.
A large group of farmers riding tractors and motorcycles thronged the Red Fort carrying tricolours and farmer union flags in their hands. A few youths even climbed up the flagpole on the 17th century landmark and put up a saffron-coloured pennant.
Visuals from the spot showed farmers swarming the Red Fort even as hundreds of others played a cat-and-mouse game with Delhi Police personnel near the ITO intersection in central Delhi, which witnessed chaos as security personnel were clearly outnumbered by the protesters.
Other video clips showed farmers chasing away policemen on foot as well with tractors, and trying to remove a DTC bus parked across the ITO Road stretch by pushing it out of way with a tractor.
The police fired tear-gas shells and lathi-charged the protesters on multiple occasions as the farmers remained adamant about moving towards Red Fort.
Later, the Rapid Action Force was also deployed at the ITO intersection.
The farmers, after confrontation with police that lasted for around 40 minutes, moved towards Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, which houses the offices of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The farmers, who started their "Kisan Gantantra Parade" (Farmers Republic Day Parade) much ahead of the scheduled timing, entered the national capital defying the agreements made in this regard with the Delhi Police and creating multiple fronts at Karnal Bypass, Mukarba Chowk, Transport Nagar, Akshardham, Gazipur and Tikri border and some farmers armed with swords were also seen clashing with the police.
As soon as the farmers reached ITO intersection and tried to move towards the Red Fort, many of the farmers clashed with the police personnel and attacked them with sticks and iron rods. The farmers also damaged several vehicles with their tractors.
Following the violence from the farmers, the police fired tear gas shells on the farmers and also resorted to lathi-charge multiple times.
After the lathi charge from the police, the farmers left their tractors and rushed to take cover.
Several tractors were seen charging towards the police personnel deployed at the ITO one after another. The farmers also pelted stones at the police personnel.
Many of the farmers and the police personnel were left injured in the clashes.
Earlier in the day, farmers comprising mostly youths entered the national capital from the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh Ghazipur border after breaking the barricades and clashed with the police near Akshardham intersection of East Delhi.
Some farmers armed with swords were also seen clashing with the police after damaging the trucks and DTC buses that were parked to stop them to enter towards central Delhi.
Police fired tear gas shells on the farmers after they entered Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar from Delhi-Haryana Singhu border.
The visuals of the men riding horses were seen at the Karnal Bypass while the protesters were also seen breaking barricades at Singhu and Mukarba Chowk.
On Sunday, Delhi Police had allowed the tractor rally after the annual Republic Day parade.
Earlier, during the talks with the police, the protesters were told they could not disrupt the celebrations at Rajpath even as the farmers insisted their parade would be "peaceful".
However, going back on their promise, the farmers broke barricades and started the rally much before the scheduled time.