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When the Red Fort was breached

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 26, 2021

A farmer holds a sword during a protest against farm laws at the historic Red Fort in Delhi, on Tuesday   -  REUTERS

Protesters marching to the Fort and unfurling flags invite widespread condemnation

The historic Red Fort became the epicentre of unprecedented protests on Tuesday with splinter groups of protesters from the farm movement hoisting the Sikh religious flag, Nishan Sahib, at the venue where Independence Day celebrations take place every year. But by late evening, the surging crowds that totalled up to about 80-90,000 protesters, had started dispersing with their leaders urging them to go back to their original sit-in sites at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border.

Along with the Nishan Sahib, the protesters unfurled flags of their organisations at the flag post meant for the tricolour.

This action invited widespread condemnations and their umbrella organisation, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), publicly criticised this action. The police, on their part, handled the matter with utmost calmness and held prolonged parleys with the protesters, resulting in disbursement after staying at the premises for about three hours.

 

The march from Singhu by a group of people belonging to the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee turned towards Red Fort at about 2 pm, after the Republic Day Parade. BusinessLine talked to some of the protesters. Most of them were youngsters.

“I am coming from Singhu border,” said Satwant Singh, from Taran Taaran in Punjab. He said they had decided to reach Red Fort on Monday itself. “We were told by our leaders that we will sit in front of Red fort till the three laws are repealed,” Singh added.

 

As the initial team of farmers managed to enter the premises, more protesters from Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur started entering the area.

They were mainly from Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait). All India Kisan Sabha’s flag was also visible at the flag post.

As the crowd started swelling, the Delhi Police engaged more cops in the premises. Nihangs from nearby Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara also came with their horses to control the mob. A lot of families and children from various protest camps joined the protesters there.

Talks with farmers

The farmers came with tractors and trolleys to the area. Police started talking to the farmers by 3.30 pm and managed to convince them to return to their camps by 4.30 pm. “We had no plans to use force. We talked to the protesters,” a senior police official deployed in the area told BusinessLine.

Meanwhile, some volunteers and senior members of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha entered the premises. SKM leaders said the organisations moved inside the Fort are not part of the SKM, but said they will talk to the protesters and the Police. Later first batch of protesters started moving back by 4.30. “We are now going back to Singhu. But we will continue to sit at the border until the laws are repealed,” another protester said.

 

Published on January 26, 2021

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