Farmers’ groups protesting against the agricultural laws on Wednesday postponed their planned march to the Parliament on February 1, the day of the presentation of the Union Budget, in view of the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally, ANI reported.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said that the farmers will instead hold rallies across the country on “Martyrs’ Day”. “We will also keep a one-day fast [on January 30],” he said. “Our march to the Parliament on February 1 stands postponed for now.”
Rajewal also said that most of the farmers had protested peacefully on Republic Day, despite the attempts to disrupt the agitation. “Some incidents took place,” he said. “There was blockade for us, not for Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.”
Rajewal blamed actor Deep Sidhu for the storming of the Red Fort, alleging that he had a “deal” with the government. “These miscreants had declared that they will go to Red Fort,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV. “They had a deal with government. Authorities let them easily enter Red Fort. Deep Sidhu is Amit Shah and [PM Narendra] Modi’s agent.”
Other prominent farmers’ unions have also distanced themselves from the violence that took place during the tractor rally. They have blamed the clashes on “certain antisocial elements”.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police said that it had filed 25 criminal cases in connection with the violence and arrested 19 people. They added that farmer leaders will be also be questioned.
In one of the first information reports, the police named 37 farmer leaders, including Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav and Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit President Gurnam Singh Chaduni. The police have also detained around 200 protestors on charges of rioting, damaging public property and attacking its personnel.
The farmers had been prescribed three routes for the tractor rallies, which the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had accepted. The Morcha also agreed to start the rallies after noon on Tuesday in order to avoid interfering with the official Republic Day parade at Rajpath.
However, some farmers decided to start early and by 9 am, protestors began to dismantle barricades to reach Delhi’s Ring Road The situation escalated when the police responded by using tear-gas and batons on the protestors. A section of protestors also hoisted sacred Sikh flags at the Red Fort.
One protestor was killed in the clashes in Delhi’s ITO area. The Delhi Police said 394 of its officers had been injured across the city.