The Delhi Police have filed 22 cases in connection with the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally by farmers protesting against the centre’s three contentious farm laws passed in September.
Many farmers’ leaders have been mentioned in the first information reports, say sources, adding the Crime Branch and the Special Cell are likely to probe the violence. Delhi Police is also likely to file a first information report (FIR) in the matter.
Eight buses and 17 private vehicles were vandalised, the police said.
The Delhi Police also said 86 policemen were injured in the violence, which took place mostly in and around Mukarba Chowk, Gazipur, ITO, Seemapuri, Nangloi T-Point, Tikri Border and the Red Fort. Baricades were broken at Ghazipur, Tikri and Singhu borders.
The Sayunkt Kisan Morcha, the police said, had conducted several rounds of meetings with the Delhi Police and gave an undertaking to take out a peaceful rally as per the proposed plans.
But violence started after they started their rally around 8 am – way before the designated time and deviated from the agreed upon routes.
Around 8.30 am, 6,000 to 7,000 tractors had assembled at the Singhu borders and instead of the agreed upon route, they insisted upon going to the Central Delhi, the police said.
“Despite persuasion by Delhi Police, the farmers led by Nihangs on their horses fully equipped with deadly weapons like swords, kripans and fursas charged the police and broke the several layers of barricades, which were erected between Mukarba Chowk and Transport Nagar,” a police statement read.
The statement also said at ITO – where the police headquarters is located — a large group of farmers who came from Gazipur and Singhu borders attempted to move towards the New Delhi district.
When they were stopped by police, violence broke out.
The farmers became “violent and broke barricades, damaged the iron grills and the dividers and even tried to run over the policemen, who were deployed at these barricades”. The situation was controlled after reinforcements arrived.
The farmers then decided to move towards the iconic Red Fort, the police said.
They entered the forecourt of the fort, climbed its ramparts, and hoisted a religious flag on a mast outside. Attempts were also made to hoist flags atop the domes of the fort.
The police, wielding batons, managed to remove them from inside the fort.
In the evening, the farmers’ group called off the tractor rally. The police said they are keeping close watch on the situation.
The police said they are also registering cases of violation of lawful directions, rioting, damage to public property and assault on public servants with deadly weapons.
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha said anti-social elements had “infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement”.
“The long struggle for more than 6 months now, and more than 60 days of protest at Delhi borders also seemed to have led to this situation,” the farmers’ group added.