Nirmesh Singh | New Delhi, 27 Jan 2021
While the protests and solidarity parade by farmer organizations on Republic Day were peaceful in other states, it witnessed clashes between police and farmers at two – three places in the national capital. Overall the parade by farmers across the country remained peaceful and successful including Bengaluru, Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh. The tractor march was part of ongoing protests against Modi government’s three farm laws and to demand their repeal. Farmers have also been demanding the law to guarantee MSP (minimum support price) on their crops.
“We condemn violence. Tractor parade was organized in different parts of country. They were peaceful except in Delhi”, said Swaroop Nayak from Indore
After the reports of violence, farmers’ organizations suspended the tractor march and suspended the tractor march and asked the farmers to return to the protesting camps. Press Note from Sanyukta Kisan Morcha said, the protest movement will continue peacefully and further course of action will be decided after the discussion with farmers. It also said, the groups deviating from set routes did not represent the majority of farmers.
Pictures of one person hoisting the nishan sahib flag on Red Fort went viral. It drew sharp criticism on social media. Another incident was of farmers trying to push DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) bus with their tractors at ITO crossing to make way ahead towards India Gate. One Farmer was also killed during the clash near ITO, with police claiming that he died as the tractor overturned. While few farmers alleged that he was killed in police action and therefore the young farmer lost the balance and tractor overturned. So far, over 60 farmers have died in the peaceful protest at the borders of Delhi braving the odds till the protest turned ugly in two parts of Delhi on the Republic day.
Clashes occurred on routes where farmers had deviated from the route and went toward Red Fort and ITO.
Condemning the violent incidents Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait) held police responsible for the confusion on routes which led to deviation. It said, they were given their route for tractor parade but police deliberately deviated the route by changing the signages and misled the farmers.
BKU (Bhanu) protestors on Delhi- Noida border said, they were give a specific route but police stopped them from proceeding on that route and barricaded it.
In Bengaluru, thousands of farmers, many riding tractors came out to express solidarity with farmers protesting against centre’s farm laws. It was so far the biggest protest over the farm laws in Bengaluru and was peaceful. The protest was organized by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Samyukta Horata, an umbrella organization of farmers and trade unions in Bengaluru.
Despite several rounds of talks between the farmers and government, the government has not agreed on repeal for farm laws saying these will boost rural incomes while farmers say the laws will give corporates the control of the Indian agriculture – which is the bedrock of the Indian economy – and end guaranteed prices for most farm produce. Over 50 percent of nation’s population is employed in agriculture sector.