The Centre on Wednesday informed the Lok Sabha that the Delhi Police filed 38 cases after violence broke out during the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26, PTI reported.
Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy provided the information while responding to a written question. “The Delhi Police has informed [the Centre] that 38 cases have been registered against the persons, including foreigners, who violated various legal provisions, including cyber crime, recently in Delhi, while protesting in the name of farm laws,” he said.
The Union minister alleged that the protestors broke barricades and proceeded towards Central Delhi, according to the news agency. He also accused the protestors of using tractors as weapons to injure policemen.
Reddy said that security was tightened at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border later to avoid repeat of the tractor rally violence. He said that the police were providing alternative routes to commuters to ensure they do not face difficulties because of the protestors.
The minister also claimed that the police had not dug up any roads at Delhi’s borders, where the farmers have been protesting for over 100 days. However, videos and pictures that emerged days after the violence showed the Delhi Police put up elaborate arrangements – digging ditches, erecting concrete barricades and spreading razor wires – across main roads at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders of the Capital.
On Tuesday, the Delhi Police arrested two more people in connection with the violence. Last month, the Centre informed the Delhi High Court that 43 first information reports had been registered in connection with the violence and that 13 cases were transferred to the Delhi Police’s Special Cell.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s border points, seeking the repeal of agricultural laws passed in September, since November. The protests had largely been peaceful till the tractor rally in January.
One person was killed and over 300 police officers injured as a section of protestors broke through barricades and poured into Delhi, clashing with the police who tried to push them back with tear gas and batons. A group of protestors also stormed the Red Fort.
The police clamped down on the protests after the violence. Heavy barricading was done at protest sites and internet services were suspended. Police complaints were filed against farmer leaders and journalists, and hundreds of protestors were arrested.
International support for Indian farmers
The crackdown on the farmers’ movement triggered international outrage. Pop star Rihanna’s tweet about internet cuts at protest sites near Delhi was instrumental in drawing global attention to the agitation in India. Following international condemnation, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement calling the tweets a “sensationalist” attempt by “vested groups” to intervene in India’s internal matters.
Shortly after, a host of Indian actors, celebrities and sports stars, many of whom have long been silent on the farmer protests, began tweeting in one voice. Among them were cricketing stars Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Ravi Shastri. They used hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether – coined by the foreign ministry – and wrote identical messages in support of the new agricultural laws.
A study showed that Indian celebrities had engaged in collusive tweeting of the two hashtags framed by the external affairs ministry. Many of their tweets had similar wording and phrases.