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Clashes ‘a setback, but protest will continue’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 26, 2021

Following Tuesday’s violence, there is immense pressure on the farm leaders to call off the protest   -  The Hindu

The Centre is scaling up security and deploying additional forces

Violent skirmishes on Tuesday are a setback for the farmers’ movement against the three contested farm laws but are unlikely to disrupt the two-month-long sit-in at Delhi’s borders.

The Centre, on its part, is expected to beef up security and deploy additional paramilitary forces. The pressure is on the farmer leaders to call off the protest in light of the violence that led to the death of a farmer and injuries to several police personnel and protesters.

 

Tractor parades continued on the charted routes near Tikri, Singhu and Shahjahanpur border late in the night on Tuesday with the protesters trooping back to their original protest sites where the two-month-long sit-in is to continue.

The protesters atop their tractors, motorbikes and cars were racing back to the Ghazipur border from where the first barricades had started to break in the morning. This set of protesters that comprise farmers from western Uttar Pradesh and the terai region – Haldwani, Pilibhit, Kashipur, Rampur, Bijnor etc – were primarily the ones who gathered at ITO, having broken the barricades on the Delhi-Ghaziabad highway in the morning.

 

But by late afternoon after the clashes in ITO, they had circled the Inter-State Bus Terminus and were trooping back to the Ghazipur border. Even the more radical among the protesters, who were stationed at the Red Fort, were being urged by their elders to go back to their original protest sites. “We have displayed our strength. They tell us that we are all addicted to drugs in Punjab. But now the world has seen our restraint and our might. Let us now peacefully go back,” urged the Kisan Majdoor Sangharsh Committee to the youngsters at the Red Fort late in the afternoon.

Tractor parade suspended

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organisation of 500 unions under whose aegis the farmers have been sitting at Delhi’s borders for two months, condemned the violence on Tuesday and suspended its tractor parade. But it indicated that the sit-in will continue.

“We thank farmers for the unprecedented participation in today’s farmers Republic Day Parade. We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts. Despite all our efforts, some organisations and individuals have violated the route and indulged in condemnable acts. Anti-social elements had infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength, and that any violation would hurt the movement,” said the SKM.

Shah reviews situation

Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with top security and police officers to discuss and review the security situation in the Capital. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava were present at the meeting where the Home Minister was briefed on the clashes that erupted after protesters broke barricades and marched into the central parts of the Capital.

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Published on January 26, 2021
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