Tractor parade: 41 policemen injured in farmers' violence at Red Fort

Joanna Estrada
January 27, 2021

Chaos reigned for almost 90 minutes as some protesters, including "Nihangs" (traditional Sikh warriors), forced their way into the Red Fort and hoisted a flag from the staff from which the prime minister unfurls the tricolour on Independence Day.

Tens of thousands of farmers massed on tractors outside the Indian capital as the nation celebrated Republic Day on Tuesday in the backdrop of agricultural protests that have grown into a rebellion and rattled the government. - AFP Protesting farmers break police barricades as they march to the capital during India's Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on Jan 26.

It is one of the longest farmers-led protests India has ever seen, pitting the community against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government.

Farmers on their tractors move towards Delhi during their rally on Republic Day, at the Singhu border in New Delhi. Farmers fear they'll lose price guarantees, though the government insists that's not the case. Some protestors reached an intersection less than two miles from the parade, where Mr Modi and his government watched a procession of tanks, troops and a military flypast. Police also had to use lathicharge and teargas shells to control unruly protesters at multiple locations in the city.

Thousands of tractors rolled into Delhi even during the 72nd Republic Day Parade.

Clashes broke out in which some farmers attacked empty buses set up as barricades.

Farmers, wearing distinctive colourful turbans, shouted slogans against PM Modi and what they call his "black laws".

They are planning another march by foot to the Indian Parliament on February 1, when the country's new budget will be presented.

The attempt to embarrass the government on a day like this is evident but it comes at a huge cost for the protesters since their own leaders have begun condemning the violence and whatever public sympathy they had seems to be eroding.

"Agriculture employs more than 40% of India's population but it is a sector plagued by poverty and inefficiency, with farmers often selling their crops for one rupee", it added.

At least 11 rounds of talks between the two sides have failed to end the protests.

The laws loosen rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce which have protected India's farmers from the free market for decades.

"The farm organisations have a very strong hold", said Ambar Kumar Ghosh, an analyst at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think-tank.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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