Security personnel at barricades put up at the Ghazipur border on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT photo)
Security personnel at barricades put up at the Ghazipur border on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT photo)

Confusion led to chaos at Ghazipur, says farmer leader

  • Sunil Choudhary, a farmer from Noida, said he was present near the MCD toll booth on the NH-24 service lane when some farmers began the tractor rally around 9.30am, much before the scheduled time.
By karn pratap singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 06:36 AM IST

hFarmers protesting at the Ghazipur-Ghaziabad border on Wednesday expressed grief over the farmer who died in Tuesday’s clashes while their leaders maintained the violence was a conspiracy to defame their agitation against the new agriculture laws.

Many of the tents set up on the roads at the border were vacant, most of the tractors and other vehicles were missing, as several farmers packed their bags and left the protest site on Tuesday night itself, following the violence.

Some farmers said people panicked and left after rumours spread about possible raids and arrests by police for Tuesday’s violence. A three-hour condolence gathering for the dead farmer was also organised at the main stage at the expressway from where farmer leaders address participants every day.

Apart from the government, the leaders blamed the Opposition parties and the police, alleging that they sent hooligans impersonating as farmers to disrupt the protest through violence.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said the chaos started because the police barricaded the approved route going towards the Ghazipur roundabout.

“Farmers were mostly from outside Delhi and they were not well aware of the roads in Delhi, especially NH-24, NH-9, and the Delhi-Meerut expressway, which has multiple carriageways and are very confusing. As the police had barricaded the road on which they had asked us to take our tractor rally, it confused some of the farmers and they entered the carriageways going towards Sarai Kale Khan. Other farmers followed them and that is how the confusion started,” said Tikait, adding that nearly 400 tractors were damaged and many farmers were injured in the violence.

Without naming the person who hoisted a religious flag or the political party he was associated with, Tikait said the flag hoisting was part of a “larger conspiracy” to defame Punjab. “Everyone knows who that person was and which political party he belonged to. There are videos and photos of him with leaders of that party. I will not be taking anybody’s name,” said Tikait.

Sunil Choudhary, a farmer from Noida, said he was present near the MCD toll booth on the NH-24 service lane when some farmers began the tractor rally around 9.30am, much before the scheduled time. He said the entire confusion started when four men who were dressed like leaders asked the farmers to move their tractors on the NH-24 and the expressway by saying that police had given them a new route.

“As the farmers were getting impatient, they broke the barricades with their tractors and went on to the restricted roads. Others followed. I believe that the four men were agents of the government who were sent to disrupt our rally. They all disappeared after the creating the chaos,” said Choudhary.

DCP (east) Deepak Yadav refuted the allegations and said, “We had given them the route but they did not follow it. If the scheduled road was barricaded, why they only broke the barricades of the restricted routes?”

The Capital descended into chaos as thousands of farmers protesting against the three laws passed in September stormed the Red Fort after breaking barricades and driving tractors through roadblocks.

While the farmer leaders continued explaining to the media the entire sequence of events, many of them looked apologetic while others were angry as they felt some anti-social elements were behind the violence.

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