The Delhi Police on Friday said that 44 people, including a man who attacked a police officer with sword, have been arrested for violence at Singhu border.
Earlier in the day, tensions arose at the Singhu border after a group of people, who claim to be locals, barged into the protest site of farmers, and vandalised it. The farmers retaliated and stones were pelted by both sides. Police used tear gas and batons to resolve the situation.
Meanwhile, a massive crowd gathered for a farmers’ “mahapanchayat” or meeting called by Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Naresh Tikait in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar town.
Security was also increased at two other protest sites – Tikri and the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur – after clashes had erupted between the police and protestors during Tuesday’s tractor rally.
Here are the top updates of the day:
10.41 pm: Darshan Pal of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha says that the BJP government is now giving a “communal color” to the protests against the farm laws. In a statement, he says the government has unsuccessfully tried to spoil the atmosphere at Singhu and Ghazipur border. “The BJP-RSS are desperately plotting to kill this movement,” he adds.
10.30 pm: The Delhi Police say that 44 people, including one who attacked a station house officer with a sword today at Singhu border, have been arrested, reports ANI.
10.05 pm: Union minister Smriti Irani alleges that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi gave a clarion call for violence across cities and that no political leader has done it before, reports ANI. She adds that it is shocking but expected that Gandhi did not say anything about the more than 300 injured Delhi Police personnel injured during the violence on Republic Day.
10.03 pm: Farmer leader Yudhvir Singh says that they do not need a lecture from the Bharatiya Janata Party on respecting the Tricolour, reports PTI. He adds that majority of farmers have children fighting at borders.
10.01 pm: Krantikari Kisan Union leader Darshan Pal Singh demands restoration of internet services in areas where the farmers are protesting, reports ANI. Singh says they will demonstrate against the suspension of the services throughout the country if it is not restored.
9.45 pm: Farmer leader Amarjeet Singh Rada says they will observe Saturday as “Sadbhavana Diwas” and that their leaders will observe a fast from 9 am to 5 pm on the day, reports ANI.
“We appeal to everyone to take part in a nationwide hunger strike on 30 January,” says Rada.
8.22 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says farmers were not involved in the violence in Delhi on January 26 and it is for the for the investigative authorities to probe into the matter and see who was responsible, reports ANI.
“The Red Fort is a symbol of our Independence and democracy,” he says. “It was a sad day when I saw that [violence] happen.
8.16 pm: Social activist Anna Hazare calls off his indefinite hunger strike, which he was scheduled to begin from tomorrow, following assurances on his demands from the Centre. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders speak to him.
7.14 pm: Delhi Police ask people, including media persons, to help them identify the rioters on Republic Day by sending any images or videos they have captured on their phones or cameras, reports the Hindustan Times.
7.09 pm: About 500 people stage a protest against the farm laws in Chandigarh, reports The Times of India.
7.06 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asks Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to weaken India, saying that an attack on farmers is an attack on the country.
“The trust of the farmer is the capital of the country,” she tweets. “Breaking their trust is a crime. It is a sin to not listen to their voice. Threatening them is a great sin.”
7.01 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule calls the Centre “insensitive” and said the government will be responsible for any harm caused to the protesting farmers and their supporters, reports The Times of India.
6.57 pm: Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav says that farmers will not go back from the movement, humiliated and defamed, reports ANI.
6.51 pm: Jannayak Janta Party leader Digvijay Singh Chautala calls Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait a true patriot and says he has always talked about farmers’ interests, reports PTI. “He is the son of country’s great farmers’ leader Mahender Singh Tikait,” Chautala says. “It is wrong to call him anti-national.”
6.32 pm: Haryana government issues an order to suspend internet services in 14 districts till 5 pm on Saturday, taking the number of districts with such shutdowns to 17, reports India Today.
6.29 pm: The Centre’s annual Economic Survey defends the farm laws, saying they herald a new era of market freedom which can go a long way in improving lives of small and marginal farmers in India, reports PTI.
The survey said that the laws were designed primarily for the benefit of “small and marginal farmers”, who constitute around 85% of the total farmers, and are the biggest sufferer of the “regressive” Agricultural Produce Market Committee-regulated market regime.
4.47 pm: Gandhi says that the Congress supports the farmers agitation. “We are with you, do not step back even by an inch, do not let them take your lands,” he adds.
4.45 pm: Gandhi says during the coronavirus pandemic, the poor got poorer and a handful of rich people “have got richer and richer”. “PM works for these five people, he imposed demonetisation for them, he implemented GST for them and is now trying to snatch the land of our farmers,” alleges the former Congress president.
4.44 pm: Speaking about the violence during farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, Rahul Gandhi questions who let 50 farmers inside the Red Fort. “Isn’t the Home Ministry responsible for protecting the Red Fort,” he asks.
4.42 pm: “Government must not think that farmers are going back to their homes, they are not,” says Rahul Gandhi. He says his only concern is that situation at Delhi borders might spread.
4.40 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tells protesting farmers to continue with their agitation. “Don’t even withdraw an inch,” he tells them.
4.37 pm: “We need to have a conversation with farmers,” says Rahul Gandhi. He adds that the government is discrediting farmers.
4.35 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in Delhi. He criticises the Narendra Modi government for not resolving the stalemate over the farm laws.
4.33 pm: Visuals show massive crowds at farmer’s “mahapanchayat” or meeting in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar town, called in support of Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait.
4.30 pm: Sporadic instances of stone pelting continues at Singhu border and the situation is tense, reports The Hindu. Announcements are being made at the main stage of the protest site, asking the farmers to remain calm and maintain peace.
4.25 pm: The Delhi Police says that the station house officer who was wounded during clashes at Singhu border has suffered grievous injuries on his hand, reports ANI.
4 pm: Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi alleges that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “weakening” India by “attacking” farmers. “Only anti-national forces will benefit,” he says in a tweet.
Gandhi is scheduled to address a press conference at 4.30 pm.
2.52 pm: A group of people, who claim to be locals, are also protesting at the Tikri border demanding that farmers vacate the area, reports The Indian Express. They say they are facing problems carrying out daily activities and businesses.
2.19 pm: The station house officer of Alipur has been injured in the clashes at Singhu border, reports ANI.
2.15 pm: A group of people, who claim to be locals have been demonstrating at Singhu border, demanding the area be vacated. The situation escalated when some of them threw stones and vandalised tents pitched by farmers at the protest site, reports NDTV. The sudden chaos at the protest site prompted the police to use tear gas shells and farmers to appeal for calm.
2.12 pm: Clashes break out at Singhu border near Delhi, prompting the police to use tear gas and batons to control the situation, reports ANI.
1.40 pm: Visuals from Singhu border.
1.38 pm: He adds that talks are on with the farmers. “Some farmers have withdrawn their protest,” says the ADG (law and order). “Police won’t do anything illegal, we’re doing everything via talks.”
1.34 pm: The Uttar Pradesh additional director general of police (law and order) says every step has been taken in accordance with what the state government had said. “Tightening of security yesterday or today was done to see that no rowdy element enters into protest to disturb atmosphere,” he adds.
1.33 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain alleges that the police personnel are not allowing the movement of water tankers. “There is no direction from any authority, it is BJP’s order,” he tells ANI. “We will not let anyone die of hunger and thirst.”
12.31 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expresses support for Bharatiya Kisan union leader Rakesh Tikait. “Rakesh ji, we are completely with the farmers,” he says. “Your demands are valid. It is completely wrong to discredit the farmers’ movement, call the peasants traitors and file false cases against the farmer leaders who have been agitating peacefully for so many days.”
12.29 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visits the Ghazipur border to inspect the arrangements for the protestors.
12.25 pm: The president adds that small and marginal farmers are a priority for the government, ANI reports. “To support such farmers in their small expenses, around Rs 1,13,000 crores have been transferred directly to their accounts, under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi,” he says.
12.22 pm: President Ram Nath Kovind says the insult to the Tricolour and the violence on Republic Day during the farmers’ protest was unfortunate. He addresses a joint sitting of both the Houses of the Parliament to mark the beginning of the Budget Session.
12.18 pm: Delhi Heath Minister Satyendar Jain and Aam Aadmi Party MLA Raghav Chadha visit the Singhu border to inspect amenities at the site.
11 am: Deep Sidhu, who has been booked in connection with the Red Fort flag incident, said he will join the investigation after some time, reports PTI. “…whatever has been spread, it is false information and it is misleading the public at large,” he added. “Therefore, I need a couple of days to bring out the truth and then I will join the investigation. I am requesting the investigation agencies...I have not done anything wrong then why should I run away and why should I be scared. I am not scared. I have done nothing wrong and that will come out.”
10.37 am: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally is an insult to the country, The Indian Express reports.
He speaks about the Red Fort incident. “That the symbol of Independent India should be damaged and sullied in this manner is not something any proud Indian can sanctify,” he says. “It is a disrespect also to our revered Nishan Sahib, which was used by some goons (they could not have been farmers) to undermine a peaceful protest.”
10.28 am: Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary visits the Ghazipur border, ANI reports. He urges the Centre to discuss the farmers’ protests in the Parliament.
10.25 am: Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait urges the protestors to remain peaceful, ANI reports. “We will not vacate the spot [Ghazipur border],” he says. “We will talk to the Government of India about our issues.”
Meanwhile, a huge crowd gathers at the protest site.
9.28 am: Extra security forces have been withdrawn from the Ghazipur protest site, PTI reports.
9.27 am: Policemen are seen at the Singhu border
8.53 am: The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) ends its protest against the farming laws, News18 reports.
8.51 am: The Ghazipur, Singhu, Auchandi and Mangesh borders remain closed for traffic, the Delhi traffic police say.
8.49 am: Heavy security is seen at the Tikri border, another prominent protest site.
8.33 am: The farmers continue their protest at the Ghazipur border, ANI reports.
8.28 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday:
- The administration of Ghaziabad gave an ultimatum to the farmers to leave the Ghazipur protest site by the end of the day. However, more protestors began arriving at the site after Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait tearfully declared that he won’t end the protest.
- The Delhi Police invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sedition charges in a case filed over the violence at Red Fort on Republic Day.
- The Noida Police filed a case against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and six others for allegedly misreporting and spreading disharmony during the clashes between the police and protesting farmers on Republic Day.
- Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said 16 political parties will boycott the president’s address in the Parliament on Friday over the farm laws. The Budget session is scheduled to begin on Friday
- Minister of Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel said that some antiquities went missing from the Red Fort after the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally. “While we can access the monetary loss, how can we gauge the loss of antiquities?” he said.