Kisan Ganatantra Parade: How the mainstream media deliberately ignored ground realities

While one farmer died during the chaos of January 26, participants at various points survived lathi-charges minutes before being showered with flowers by the public.

Kisan Gantantra diwas

Following inputs of disruption of the Kisan Ganatantra Parade, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) called off the parade with immediate effect, appealing to all participants to return to their respective protest sites at 6 PM on January 26, 2021.

The farmer organisation hoped to regroup to plan the next steps to maintain a peaceful protest. However, over the day, violence had broken out in parts of the city wherein both police personnel and peaceful protesters were injured.

Around the same time that some unruly people stormed the Red Fort, a tractor toppled over near ITO. Participants alleged that the farmer riding the tractor was shot by a police official. The man was shrouded in tricolours to honour his death for the farmers movement. Farmers mourned the 25-year-old’s death and kept any “godi-media” persons from approaching the body.

farmers protest

Although the identity of the farmer is unknown, this is the only recognised death of Republic Day. While the government has called for tight security around Red Fort in Delhi, farmers organisations as of Wednesday afternoon are still trying to take stock of the injured participants. The Hindu reported that over 100 police personnel were injured on Tuesday.

Prior to the Red Fort entry, farmers’ parades in various parts of the city suffered lathi charge and tear gas attacks. At certain points, police were recorded to have taken off the national flag from a tractor.

According to a senior veteran, who posted his account on social media, the farmers parade from Tikri border continued peacefully until Nangloi. Farmers helpline personnel said farmers survived tear gas and lathi charge attacks at the spot.

“All along the way, residents of Delhi lined Rohtak road, and clapped, cheered and welcomed the endless line of tractor-riding farmers with flags, sweets and rose petals! It was a beautiful and heartening sight. The ugliness that happened in different parts of the city was not the norm. It was a very sad exception,” said the veteran.

The veteran also condemned the events that unfolded at Red Fort and ITO and mourned the death of the unidentified farmer. However, he also reminded  that lakhs of farmers did not indulge in acts of vandalism and asked, “Is anyone answering for the violence that has been done to the farmers?”

Similarly, Ex-Editor of Hindi e-newspaper Jansatta Om Thanvi also questioned the mainstream media’s coverage of Tuesday events.

He criticised the media for only showing a faction of farmers that openly disagreed with the 40 farmers Unions of the SKM and declared it would carry out its separate parade instead of following the Delhi police route.

Thanvi said, “Farmers of the SKM started their tractor parade on the route agreed between them and the Government. A very peaceful Tractor Parade is going. People of Delhi were showering flowers on them. Not a single national channel covered these leaders who were present in all rounds of negotiation with Ministers. Instead, they [media] asked repeatedly: Where are the leaders now?”

He said that the hoisting of the religious flag played into the government’s narrative of Khalistani supporters. He also condemned the decision to block the internet in effect stopping the SKM’s live coverage of the event and cutting off farmers from the rest of country.

Farmer leaders will meet at 2 PM on January 27 to plan further action and reassess their previous plan to march to the Parliament on February 1 when the Union Budget will be presented.


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