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Farmers’ protests | Police give nod for tractor parades in Delhi on Republic Day

Farmers arrive in a tractor for their tractor rally planned for January 26 in protest against new farm laws, at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on Friday, January 22, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Protesting farmers will enter Delhi with their tractors on Republic Day, with farmer unions and police officials finding a compromise solution on Saturday, after three days of consultation.

Farmer leaders claimed that the Delhi Police had given them permission to hold tractor parades on five routes within the national capital on January 26. A senior police officer clarified that while the original proposal to hold a rally on Outer Ring Road has been vetoed, farmers will be allowed to enter Delhi in the course of their parade.

 

More than 2 lakh tractors will participate in the parades, which will start from several points on the border, enter the capital for a stretch and then exit again, according to farmer unions. A control room is being set up to coordinate the parades and more than 2,500 volunteers will be deployed to facilitate movement of the vehicles. The farmers’ parade will only begin well after the official Republic Day parade on Rajpath is completed, they added.

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several border points around the capital for almost two months, demanding a repeal of three farm reform laws and a legal guarantee that Minimum Support Prices (MSP) will be paid for their crops. Their negotiations with Union Ministers came to a standstill on Friday, but Saturday’s discussions with police officials were more fruitful.

The Delhi Police have given its nod to the farmers' tractor parade on Republic Day in the national capital, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh spokesperson Abhimanyu Kohar said after attending the meeting between the unions and the police. He said the tractor parades will start from the Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri border points of Delhi, and details will be finalised on Saturday night. Thousands of farmers, including many women, have already reached the Singhu border from Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand to participate in the rally, he added.

 

"Preparations are in full swing for disciplined conduct of the rally. We are getting a huge response from farmers. We had a meeting with police and final route of the rally has been discussed and it will be conveyed to protesters," Mr. Kohar said.

Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who heads a faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union in Haryana, told reporters that as thousands of farmers will participate in the parade, there will be no single route.

Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said that barricades set up at Delhi border points, will be removed on January 26 and farmers will take out tractor rallies after entering the national capital. It will be a peaceful rally and protesters will follow the route map agreed during the meeting.

A senior police officer said that they have not allowed the farmers to hold a protest on Outer Ring Road as had been initially proposed. However, the tractors will be allowed to enter Delhi and leave. A route has been fixed during the meeting for the rally and leaders have been requested to bring out the rally on the proposed route peacefully, added the official.

 

“Currently, the police is questioning him. Till the time this is going on, to say anything will not be appropriate,” added the officer.

This comes a day after protesters handed over a man to Haryana Police who had allegedly come to kill farm leaders. The suspect told police that he was thrashed by a group people at Singhu border before he was presented before media. A video of the suspect has been widely circulated on social media. The video was recorded when he was grilled by Haryana Police.

"On January 26, there was a plan to create disturbance during the tractor parade by opening fire on Delhi Police personnel, which would prompt them to retaliate against the protesting farmers in a strong manner," he claimed during a press conference at Singhu border on Friday night.

A police official said the man, stated to be around 21 years of age, was being quizzed in Sonipat by the Crime Branch of the state police. The man has been residing in Sonipat and has no previous criminal record.

"He was not carrying any arms or ammunition. We are questioning him, but nothing has so far been found that points to any kind of conspiracy, as is being alleged," the official said earlier in the day, adding that further investigations are underway.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 1:12:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-protests-unions-claim-delhi-police-have-given-nod-to-tractor-parades-on-january-26/article33644150.ece

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