Kisan Tractor Rally underway, moves into national capital Delhi area

Tear gas, lathi charge launched by Delhi Police, security agencies as various points; Mukarba Chowk, Akshardham, Noida

Farmers protest
Image courtesy: Sanjeev Verma /HT

Even as the Indian Air Force planes flew over at the culmination of the national Republic Day parade, thousands of India’s farmers took out a rally from the Delhi borders, and moved into the Capital area. However, unlike the heavily protected army-led parade on Rajpath, there was police action reported on the farmers.

Initial reports, and live visuals from Mukarba Chowk in West Delhi (closer to Singhu border) and Ghazipur border, Akshardham, Noida, showed that there was police action on the farmer rally as it moved into the Capital, ahead of the scheduled time. 

As we go to press, there are reports of protesting farmers moving into Delhi’s ITO area close to the historic Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, where in times gone by newspaper offices used to be located. The police appear outnumbered, reports India Today and the area is tense.

There are multiple reports of tear gas being launched, NDTV showed visuals of policemen standing on a pedestrian foot-over-bridge launching tear gas shells on the farmers riding their tractors on the highway below. The tractors seem to have been stopped at Akshardham Mandir for now and the line-up is building up on the Delhi-Meerut expressway. 

Lathi-charge was also reported from Noida chowk. Residents of East Delhi reported hearing loud sounds, which later was shown on NDTV as tear gas firing on the farmers.



The most tense is Mukarba Chowk, which is on what is the historic Grand Trunk road, that connects Punjab. Some groups of farmers can be seen removing the police barricades, and quickly the farmer volunteers too sprung into action to control the mischievous elements. The nihangs atop their horses were also seen controlling the crowds.

The National Capital of Delhi, is now seeing history unfold on January 26, 2021. The massive tractor rally, and those on foot, are now headed into the city. So far, apart from the few trouble making groups who were aggressive at the Mukarba Chowk area, the farmers have so far been peaceful, farmer volunteers are out in full force and were seen guiding the tractors to form an orderly line at Akshardham. Each tractor has the Tricolour flying high.



Farmers have been protesting patiently and peacefully at a sit-in for over 70 days, and close to five months before that in Punjab and Haryana. Is it therefore completely understandable that patience with an obdurate government has begun to run out? Readers will recall how water cannons and lathis were used – even in the midst of the Delhi bitter winter cold to stop the peaceful march into Ramlila Maidan and into Delhi on November 26, 2020.

While Delhi police had hoped for 5,000 or so farmers assembling for the Kisan Ganatantra Parade, a mere glance at the various parades starting through the city, shows that farmers have gathered in much larger numbers on January 26, 2021.



Various groups set out in an organised manner, with a few citizens coming out on the streets to shower marchers with flowers, and express their solidarity with the government.

However, even before the agreed upon time of 12 noon, small skirmishes had broken out, and there were reports of clashes breaking out along the Ghazipur (near Akshardham), Mubaraqak Chowk (where roads from the Tikri and Singhu parade routes) converge.

Delhi police lathi-charged and threw tear-gas shells at the first batch of farmers marching from Singhu border at Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, 16 km away from the protest point that marked the first leg of farmers’ parade.

Farmers told SabrangIndia that police barricade routes for which they had previously issued NOCs. The clashes first broke out along the Tikri route where people forced past barricades.

According to ANI, Joint Commissioner of Police S. S. Yadav said that police have asked protesters to follow the route that was agreed upon.

Farmer leaders such as Jagjit Singh Dallewal appealed to farmers to maintain a peaceful march to show peasant’s resolve.

Meanwhile, women farmers from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Odisha and Jammu have set off from Shahjahanpur border on Tuesday afternoon. Farmer leader Yogendra Yadav who accompanied the batch also condemned the tear gas shelling seen at the SG Transport Nagar.





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