New Delhi: In violation of an agreement with authorities on the timing of the ‘Tractor Rally’ to be taken out after the Republic Day parade, a section of farmers at Singhu and Tikri borders on Tuesday morning broke through barricades and entered Delhi ahead of the agreed time.
Thousands of farmers marched into the national capital on foot and while riding tractors, even as paramilitary forces and Delhi Police personnel kept a wary eye on the evolving situation.
A senior police officer said that farmers began their rally before the scheduled time between 12 pm and 5 pm once the “official” Republic Day celebrations was over.
Thousands of farmers gathered on eight points on the Delhi-Haryana and Delhi-Uttar Pradesh borders on Tuesday, ahead of the tractor march to protest the three new central agricultural laws.
The Delhi Police had on Sunday allowed the tractor rally subject to certain conditions to be followed by farmers. The protesters were told they can’t disrupt the celebrations at the Rajpath even as the protesters insisted their rally would be “peaceful”.
A farmer leader told IANS: “A few farmers removed the barricades at the Singhu and Tikri borders and started their march into Delhi. However, the ‘official’ tractor parade is yet to start.”
Kisan Congress Vice Chairman Surender Solanki, who is leading a protest by farmers at the Tikri border, told IANS: “Thousands of farmers have been assembling at the Tikri border since 3 am today for the tractor parade.”
“Around 6 am, we began our tractor parade with hundreds of tractors. And we also removed the barricades put at the Jharoda border.”
On Monday, leaders of the protesters and Delhi Police officers had agreed to a list of guidelines to be strictly followed during the tractor rally on Republic Day.
The Delhi Police have made it clear that any deviation from the agreed set of over three dozen guidelines is seen, the permission for the tractor rally would stand cancelled. This has put the onus on the farmers to ensure peaceful conduct of their tractor rally and return to the designated spots after traversing the agreed route distance.
According to the consensus reached by the two sides, not more than 5,000 tractors and 5,000 persons would be permitted to participate in the tractor rally that is slated to start once the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital end.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at several Delhi entry points since November 26 last year to demand the repeal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee on minimum support price.
The 11 rounds of talks between the central government and the protesting farmers have remained inconclusive.