The Delhi Police Tuesday said protesting farmers violated the conditions pre-agreed for their tractor parade and resorted to violence and vandalism, leaving many police personnel injured. It said legal action would be taken against violent protesters.
In a statement, the police also claimed the force did all due diligence in following the conditions for the rally, but the protesters began their march much ahead of the scheduled time and extensive damage to public property was caused.
The condition that more than five people will not be seated in tractors was also not followed during the march which turned violent with people opposing the Centre's new agri laws and police clashing at several places of the city. Leaders of farmer unions had on Sunday outlined conditions for the tractor parade in Delhi. They had appealed to the participants of the tractor rally on Republic Day to maintain peace and asked them not to carry weapons, drink alcohol, carry banners with inciting messages. Protestors were asked to specifically follow three routes originating from the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border points of the national capital. The conditions were agreed upon by union leaders after meetings with the Delhi Police.
"Legal action according to law would be taken against those who damaged public property and injured the Delhi police personnel. Some even tried to run their tractors over the policemen," said Alok Kumar, Joint CP Delhi Police.
The police statement came as the national capital witnessed violent scenes during a tractor parade by farmers who entered the city in their tractors from different points to press for their demand of repealing the three new agri sector laws.
"The protesters violated conditions fixed for the rally. The farmers began tractor rally before scheduled time, they also resorted to violence and vandalism," Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal said. "We followed all conditions as promised and did our due diligence but the protest led to extensive damage to public property. Many policemen were also injured during the protest," Singhal said. At least 83 Delhi Police personnel were injured, according to latest official statement.
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 and climb the flagpole on Republic Day on Tuesday.
Police used teargas shells to disperse the restive crowds in some places, while hundreds of farmers in ITO were seen chasing them with sticks and ramming their tractors into parked buses. A protester died after his tractor overturned. ITO resembled a war zone with a car being vandalised by angry protesters and shells, bricks and stones littering the wide streets, testimony to the fact that the farmer movement that had been peaceful for two months was no longer so.