The government on Wednesday denounced the unprecedented violence at the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, saying, “it can’t be condemned enough”. In its first official reaction since the widespread clashes, the government also promised action against those responsible.
“Action should be against all of those who instigated others. India won’t tolerate the manner in which the Tricolour was insulted at the Red Fort,” said Union minister Prakash Javadekar, apparently citing the incident where protesters who managed to get inside the Red Fort hoisted a Sikh religious flag on an empty mast.
The matter drew attention to the man the farmers have blamed for the violence — Punjabi actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who in a Facebook post defended the planting of a “Nishan Sahib” or Sikh religious flag at the iconic monument.
Several farmer leaders have accused the actor of tainting their anti-farm law protest. He was allegedly responsible for the farmer’s movement towards the Red Fort, where they had climbed the ramparts and clashed with the police when they were asked to leave.
Mr Javadekar pointed finger at the Congress and its senior leader Rahul Gandhi, who, the minister said, was “instigating” people through his tweets.
“Rahul Gandhi was not merely supporting (the farmers’ protest) but was instigating. It happened at the time of CAA. There was talk of Congress rally and on the second day people came on the road.”The same thing happened yesterday. Yesterday’s tweets are in front of everyone,” he added.
“A Congress tweet claimed the farmer who died in an accident was the victim of police brutality. When questions were raised from all over the country, Rahul-ji’s statement came that violence is not the solution to any problem,” the minister said.
Citing the 10 rounds of negotiations with farmers that happened over the past weeks, Mr Javadekar said it is the Congress which is not allowing a resolution of the issue.
“The government talked 10 rounds, offered to put the law on hold for one-and-a-half years. Questioned how the rights of farmers could be reduced… The Congress also understands, but it will not allow this compromise,” he added.
The Delhi Police, who have made 19 arrests in the 25-odd cases filed, on Wednesday said they are investigating the leaders of farmer groups in connection with the violence.
The farmers, who received permission to hold the rally at a designated time and route yesterday – had deviated from it, triggering clashes with the police.
The farmers broke barricades at the three borders from where the rally was to start – Singhu, Tikri and Ghaziabad. A group went to the iconic Red Fort, where they entered the Mughal-era structure.