How unruly farmers tried to embarrass India on Republic Day

Updated on Jan 27, 2021 02:09 PM IST
The tractor-borne unruly farmers were minutes away from India Gate when they were blocked by New Delhi Range police.
A video of an unruly tractor moving waywardly towards police personnel at ITO emerged on Tuesday as farmers protesting against farm laws deviated from their route and moved inside the Capital.
A video of an unruly tractor moving waywardly towards police personnel at ITO emerged on Tuesday as farmers protesting against farm laws deviated from their route and moved inside the Capital.

While Delhi Police will be releasing photos and videos of those unruly farmers involved in tractor rally, there is evidence to show that the agitator mob was all out to disrupt the 2021 Republic Day and cause international embarrassment to the Modi government.

After piecing the threads with top police and intelligence officials, the Hindustan Times has learnt that the farmer groups flouted all conditions and routes agreed in their meetings with Delhi Police interlocutors with an aim to disrupt the parade.

There is evidence to indicate that the farmer mob on powerful 45 horsepower tractors had reached Bhairon Road at 10.45am and were mere four minutes away from breaching the parade. These agitators breached the Ghazipur border in East Delhi by 9am and moved on NH 24 via Nizamuddin Bridge. Had the New Delhi range police not blocked the Bhairon Marg by bus barriers, the Republic Day Parade would have been disrupted by unruly farmers carrying both National and religious flags.

Red Fort breach: Farm leaders' meet to fix responsibility, fingers at Deep Sidhu

According to top police officials, after being blocked from entering the C-hexagon in India at Bhairon Marg, the agitators moved towards the A-point on the ITO intersection and the W point next to Supreme Court by 11.30 am, with the parade just minutes away from being breached. Again, the presence of mind of two DCPs saved the day as bus barriers were deployed, as a result of which the mob moved towards the Red Fort. The New Delhi Range managed to hold the Fort India Gate not only during the parade but also during the at-home at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

While the Delhi Police brass is examining how the northern, eastern and western borders were breached despite prior instructions from the Delhi Police Commissioner, S N Shrivastava, the fact is that as many as 394 policemen were injured and the number is going up. Despite all provocations, including religious flags being hoisted by unruly farmers, the Delhi Police exercised total restraint and did not open fire at the mob. “While a number of senior police officers were of the view that firing should have been opened at least at the Tarn Taran youth who hoisted the religious flag atop Red Fort, others said that restraint was the better option. We have registered cases, identified those involved and notices will now be sent under Indian Penal Code (IPC) including the discretion of national monument and disrespect to the National Flag,” said a top police officer on condition of anonymity to Hindustan Times.

Delhi Police Commissioner Shrivastava met his Special Commissioners this morning and it was decided to throw the book of law at the unruly and anti-social elements. It was for this very reason the Delhi Police was extremely reluctant in allowing tractors in Delhi and were forewarned by others that the agitating farmers on Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders would flout the law. The landlord-farmers, for the past week, had been telling the Delhi Police interlocutor that they want to march on Rajpath, perhaps to vandalise the same area as was done during the protest led by farm leader Mahendra Singh Tikait back in 1988.

After agreeing to start the tractor parade on designated routes, the unruly farmers started attacking concrete barriers as early as 8am and weaponized the tractor to provoke the Delhi Police.

“We have 394 injured policemen. But had Delhi Police given to provocation and opened fire even on that man who hoisted the religious flag, everyone would have blamed us by portraying farmers as innocent victims. It would not have mattered to anyone that these unruly mob was using tractors to run down police officers and personnel,” said a senior special commissioner of Delhi Police.


    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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