Rioters were outsiders, say farmer leaders at UP Gate
Ghaziabad: Farmers’ leaders at UP Gate have distanced themselves from incidents of violence reported on Republic Day in Delhi, claiming that the people who indulged in these incidents were “outsiders”. They said the protest will continue as usual at the sites.
Rakesh Tikait, farmer leader and national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), said that the people who indulged in violence were “trying to sabotage” the protest. He arrived at UP Gate around 3pm after his tractor rally.
“It is not in my knowledge if any flag was put up at the Red Fort. I will enquire if such a thing has happened. We suspect that there were some outsiders who got into our rally and were not obeying our repeated requests. They were trying to sabotage our protest. However, our tractor rally went on well and our protest will continue at the UP Gate site,” he said.
“Many of the protesters who had come to attend the rally have gone home while others will stay on at UP Gate and carry on our protest,” he added.
On Tuesday evening, the protesters brought in the body of the 25-year-old man who was killed due allegedly to an accident his tractor met with near ITO in Delhi.
Rajkishor Singh, one of the spokespersons for the UP Gate farmers’ committee, said the man, identified as Ravneet Singh, had gone to Delhi in his tractor.
“His body was brought to UP Gate and will be handed over to his family. He was from Bilaspur in Rampur district,” he added.
Police personnel at the site in Delhi said the man was allegedly driving the tractor rashly before the vehicle rammed into a barricade and overturned. The farmers, meanwhile, claimed that the man sustained a hit on his head allegedly by a teargas shell, as a result of which he died, but they refused to go ahead for an autopsy.
On Tuesday morning, some of the farmer leaders stood at UP Gate till 11am while many of the protestors, including those upon tractors, broke open the barricades at the border and entered the national Capital.
“Those who created a ruckus with tractors and indulged in violence were quick in their actions and their body language revealed their intentions, and the fact that they could not be farmers,” BKU’s national press co-ordinator Shamsher Rana said in a statement issued Tuesday night.
“We will continue our protest till the three laws are repealed. I have never seen such a big protest in my life and the government will be impacted by this agitation. From now on, they will think 100 times before taking any decision,” said 69-year-old Shankar Singh, who joined the protest from Iglas in Aligarh and took part in the 24-hour relay fast at UP Gate.
For the tractor rally, officials of the Ghaziabad administration as well as the Uttar Pradesh police had held several rounds of talks with farmers’ leaders during the past couple of days. Even the local intelligence wing from Ghaziabad was active on a day-to-day basis.
“The Delhi Police issued their press release about the route and plan and we also received communication on Monday. There is no intelligence failure on the part of Uttar Pradesh; besides, there has been no law and order issue in our area and many farmers have returned,” said Kalanidhi Naithani, senior superintendent of police, Ghaziabad.
Ghaziabad district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey did not take calls made repeatedly for his comments.
After incidents of violence in Delhi came to light, hundreds of tractors which were part of the rally made a hasty retreat as many returned to the UP Gate protest site, while others took to the Delhi-Meerut Road and NH-9 to rush to their hometowns.
Officials of the traffic police said that tractors followed the designated rally route in Ghaziabad. The officials, however, said they did not have figures for the number of tractors which entered the district on Tuesday and said that the figures were not readily available.
“Many of them entered the Ghaziabad district from Apsara border side and went to Hapur road, and took up the designated route to UP Gate. In wake of the situation, we have our traffic personnel deployed. The Delhi Police have barricaded four of our border points including the one at Kaushambi and Surya Nagar,” said Ramanand Kushwaha, superintendent of police, Ghaziabad (rural).
(With input from HTC, Delhi)