The farmers' (tractor) rally on the Republic Day in New Delhi was meant to be solely peaceful and an impactful platform to express their demands, but it took a violent turn as a sect of protesters smashed through barricades. Protestors entered parts of the capital city which were not permitted for their protest and rally. They deviated from the route that the unions had agreed upon in accordance with Delhi Police.
Before long there were clashes between the protesters and policemen, as a result several vehicles overturned and casualties took place. The police had to resort to lathicharge and teargas shells to disband the protestors. Several protesting farmers stormed into the Red Fort, and waved their flags on ramparts and minarets.
The move had grave repercussions for the entire protesting mass, the leading farmers' unions condemned all these events and withdrew their support from the protest. January 26, 2021 will be remembered as an unprecedented Republic Day. Unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. The capital city, every year mimics a fortress on the occasion guarded and marched by our proud armed forces flaunting their uniforms and medals, appeared defenceless and frail as thousands of protesting farmers barged through barricades, causing violent encounters with the policemen. Farmers riding tractors, motorcycles and even horses, broke barricades to enter Delhi two hours prior to the scheduled time for their display and rally. The march was supposed to start at noon after the wrap up of the Republic Day Parade on Rajpath. The protestors breached the conditions for the rally and also recoursed to violence and vandalism of property. The protesters broke through metal and concrete barricades leading to violent encounters with the police in various areas of the capital city. At some venues, masses were seen (and recorded) chasing policemen with sticks and arms after teargas shells were dispersed.
A group of "Nihangs" (Sikh warriors) also clashed with allocated policemen, brandishing sword at one of them. ITO Metro Station resembled an active war zone with vandalized property (cars), shells, bricks and stones all over the streets. Similar unwelcoming scenario were witnessed in other parts of capital as well.
The situation slipped further from hands as a mass of protestors reached the Red Fort on their tractors, and stormed in to its ramparts and minarets. Visuals from the spot showed security personnels getting outnumbered by protestors gathered in large numbers. The protesters climbed on to the ramparts and minarets of the Red Fort and waved their flags. One of them even climbed the flagpost where the Tricolour was hoisted and waved "Nishan Sahib" (Sikh religious flag) there. In a while, the police resorted to lathicharge and removed the pritesting farmers from the red Fort premises.
After all this chaotic situations and disgraceful turn of events union leaders who have been leading the 2-month-old agitation and morcha on the outskirts of Delhi distanced themselves from the violence. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, (umbrella body of 41 farmer unions), avowed that some "anti-social elements" impinged their peaceful protest and march. Later on the union also condemned the events as their march turned violent after several groups of farmers deviated from the prescribed route. During the rally the so-called peaceful march, one protestor died after his tractor overturned. The exact number protestors injured is still not known. Meanwhile, 86 of police personnel were injured severely and were hospitalised. STAND POINT What India witnessed on the Republic Day this year was unprecedented, utterly disgraceful and infuriating. Even after such nuisance Farmers' union blamed Delhi Police responsible for the violence, since they didn't mark tractor rally route with barricades properly. Some of them claims Actor Deep Sidhu for instigating protesters, and leading them to Red Fort. The march was supposed to be massive but peaceful, hundreds and thousands of farmers drove in convoys to take part in protests against three farm laws. But the march turned into a violent agitation. The street which were supposed to be decorated in tricolour and filled with proud marcher turned into war zones covered in broken shells, bricks and vandalized vehicles. The Right to Protest is protected by the Constitution of India, it guarantees freedoms of speech and expression, assembly, and the right to form unions. It is a fundamental and cannot be compromised at all. But there are reasonable exceptions to everything. Protest is an effective way to express disagreement and dissent with the government and it’s actions but the way Farmers' Protest took a violent turn, it is undesirable and unacceptable. What started off as a peaceful demonstration and protest on November 26 last year is now turning into a terrorising altercation and vandalizing muster. When the Farmers' Union got the permission for this tractor rally, a convoy that was supposed to be a peaceful and impactful way to show their dissent. Ironically while displaying their disagreement towards the laws the farmers took laws in their hands. It was supposed to be a unprecedented celebration of our 72nd Republic Day as now one but two different parades were organised. One at the Rajpath and the other one at the outskirts of our national capital. The worldwide known slogan of Shashtri Ji of "JAI JAWAN, JAI KISAN" was coming to life but it somehow the protestors turned it into "HUM HI JAWAN, HUM HI KISAN" viz. not empowering but rather subjugating.