Farmers’ Stir: Prominent Leaders Named In FIR, Two Unions Withdraw From Protest
Farmers protest during a tractor rally near the Singhu border crossing in Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Farmers’ Stir: Prominent Leaders Named In FIR, Two Unions Withdraw From Protest

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As many as 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, have been named in a first information reports in connection with the disorder during the tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day.

Delhi Police said that 22 FIRs have been filed and around 200 people detained. Multiple videos and CCTV footage are being scanned to identify those involved in the stir and strict action will be taken against the culprits.

The FIR registered at Samaypur Badli names 37 farmer leaders including Tikait, Yadav, Darshan Pal and Chaduni and their role will be probed, the police said.

The FIR has been registered under various sections of IPC including 147, 148 (related to rioting), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy).

Farmer unions alleged that “anti-social” elements had perpetrated the violence to “torpedo” their peaceful agitation against the farm laws. After Tuesday’s incidents, two farmers unions--the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan--withdrew from the protests on the Delhi's borders.

The protesting farmers are now considering the postponement of their foot march to Parliament on Feb. 1 against the three farm laws in the wake of the developments during the Republic Day.

A senior farmer leader said that Samkyukta Kisan Morcha, which is an umbrella body of 41 protesting unions, will take a final call on the postponement of the Feb. 1 foot march.

Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel visited the Red Fort on Wednesday to take stock of the damage caused by a section of farmers who stormed the monument and hoisted the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh religious flag, there after deviating from the rally route. The minister has sought a report on the incident.

Vandalised metal detector gate and ticket counter, and shards of glass were seen on the premises of the Red Fort during the visit by the minister who was accompanied by the secretary of culture ministry and the ASI Director-General.

Security has been beefed up in several places across the national capital, especially at the Red Fort and farmer protest sites, with the deployment of additional paramilitary forces.

Delhi Metro authorities shut the Lal Quila station and restricted entry to the Jama Masjid station.

The tractor parade on Republic Day that was to highlight the demands of the farmer unions to repeal three new agri laws dissolved into thousands of protesters breaking through barriers, clashing with police, and overturning vehicles. The police, too, deployed tear gas and baton-charge in some areas.

Farmers’ body Samyukta Kisan Morcha alleged “antisocial” elements like actor Deep Sidhu attempted to “torpedo” their peaceful agitation under a conspiracy but asserted they won’t allow “the government and other forces inimical to the peaceful movement to break this struggle”.

In a statement, the Morcha said, “The Union government has been severely shaken by this peasant agitation. Therefore, a dirty conspiracy was hatched with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and others.”

It alleged that these outfits had set up their own separate protest site after 15 days of the beginning of this farmers’ agitation. “They were not part of the organisations which jointly undertook the struggle,” the statement said.

Talking to reporters, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) president Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh said he was deeply pained by whatever happened during the tractor parade in the national capital, adding that his union was ending its protest.

The union was staging the protest at the Chilla border.

Meanwhile, two pleas were filed in the Supreme Court over the incident with one seeking setting up of a commission, headed by a retired apex court judge, to inquire into the incident while the other urged it to direct the media not to declare farmers as “terrorist” without any evidence.

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