Tractor march: Protesters flout undertaking; swords wielded, bus vandalised
The tractor march which was meant to be a peaceful protest aimed at only putting forward the issues the farmers are facing went berserk on Tuesday with the participants flouting the undertaking that the union leaders of the protesting farmers gave to the Delhi Police.
Thousands of tractors on Tuesday took a turn towards ITO while the farmers' union repeatedly promised that the tractor rally won't enter the Capital.
Directives were issued asking all tractors to not play loudspeakers or to crowd the tractors with more than five people. But all such directives were thrown to the wind. The umbrella body of the farmers' unions asked participants to not carry any arms, but the participation of Nihang Sikhs atop their horses, carrying and wielding their swords and sticks, became a flashpoint of today's chaos.
Chaos prevailed at Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi which also disrupted normal traffic. One group of protesters took the Akshardham route instead of the designated Apsara road and police resorted to tear gas to contain the protesters.
Delhi Police deployed maximum force across the capital in a pre-emptive move. But as there was no cap on the number of tractors taking part in the march, protesters at places outnumbered police.
Here is what happened since the morning and how the proposed peaceful march led to a violent face-off with the police.
> It was decided that the tractor rally will enter Delhi from Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders and then will return. According to the route map, the march from Singhu was supposed to pass through Kanjhawala, Bawana, Auchandi border, KMP Expressway and then return to Singhu. The Tikri route was was to Nagloi, Najafgarh and Western Peripheral Expressway and the Ghazipur border route was supposed to be on Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal Expressway.
> But farmers complained that Delhi Police didn't remove the barricades and were not allowing the protesters to enter Delhi, while the tractor march was officially given the permission to enter into Delhi on pre-approved routes.
> The first clash took place at the barricades.
> Another round of clashes took place when protesters deviated from their routes. Police resorted to tear gas, lathi charge.
> It became a battleground just a kilometre away from Delhi's Akshardham temple as police fired tear gas shell and farmers threw it back at police.
> According to union leaders, the deviation was by outsiders. They also claimed the police provoked peaceful protesters.