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Farmers’ protests | Police withdraw at Nangloi as farmers break through barricades during Republic Day tractor rally

Large number of people, including women and children, were lined on both sides of the road leading to Peeragarhi Chowk from Tikri border as well as the flyover over the junction   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Hundreds of farmers riding tractors and marching on foot broke away from the pre-set route for the “Tractor Parade” from the Tikri border to enter Central Delhi on Tuesday, after several hours of pitched battle with the police.

The road under the Nangloi flyover turned into a virtual battleground, witnessing clashes between farmers and the police for a large part of the day. The police resorted to several rounds of tear gas shelling to stop the farmers from violating the parade route before giving up after several hours of effort.

Making their intentions clear with the beginning of the parade in the morning, the farmers, in large numbers, broke through the barricades at Tikri border almost three hours ahead of the scheduled time agreed upon with the Delhi Police.

Tension began to build-up around noon after a handful of youth riding tractors refused to turn right from under the Nangloi flyover towards Baprola village as per the pre-approved route and insisted on going towards the Peeragarhi Chowk. Initially, a dozen tractors in ones and twos managed to break through the barricades, but by the evening, the farmers threw open all barriers to march ahead in large numbers.

Chased by the protesters armed with lathis, the policemen were seen taking shelter in alleys in the surrounding colonies.

The police also made a brief attempt to stop the farmers at Peeragarhi Chowk in the evening by parking Delhi Transport Corporation buses to block their way, but later removed them.

As the evening wore on, a few farmers in tractors began returning to the Tikri border, turning Peeragarhi Chowk into a complete traffic mess.

In violation of the instructions issued by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha for the participants in the tractor parade, the farmers were not just armed with the lathis, but also travelled on the bonnets and roofs of the tractors and played loud music. Almost all were fitted with national flags and flags of farmer organisations.

Large number of people, including women and children, were lined on both sides of the road leading to Peeragarhi Chowk from Tikri border as well as the flyover over the junction to witness the parade, cheer the farmers and capture the moment on their mobile phones. “It is historic. So I brought both my kids along to see it,” said Rakesh Bhardwaj on of the on-lookers.

The crowd on the flyover also waved and cheered the farmers in tractors under they went past the intersection.

Many residents stopped the farmers to garland them, shower rose petals on the convoy and hand them water bottles. Several Sikh men and women also reached the Peeragarhi Chowk in cars to stage protests at the intersection raising slogans against the three farm laws.

As the clashes escalated, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation shut entry to 11 metro stations on the Green Line, throwing commutes into chaos.

The internet services were also suspended in the area till midnight.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 9:48:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/police-withdraw-at-nangloi-as-farmers-break-through-barricades/article33669129.ece

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