As cracks began to appear in their ongoing agitation against the agri laws, farmer unions on Wednesday cancelled their planned march to Parliament on February 1 when the Union Budget would be presented. The decision came a day after massive violence during their tractor parade in the national capital that left nearly 400 police personnel injured.
However, they said their agitation against the farm laws will continue and public meetings and hunger strikes will be held across the country on January 30.
“On Martyrs’ Day, we’ll hold public rallies across India on behalf of the farmers’ agitation. We will also keep a one-day fast. Our March to the Parliament on February 1 stands postponed for now due to this (Tuesday’s violence),” said Balbir S Rajewal of Bhartiya Kisan Union said. He said over two lakh tractors and lakhs of people participated in Tuesday’s parade and “99.9 percent of the protesters were peaceful”.
Farmer leader Darshan Pal said, “We have cancelled our plan for a march to Parliament on budget day on February 1. But our agitation will continue and there will be public meetings and hunger strike across the country on January 30.”
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee have withdrawn from the protests on Delhi’s borders. Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, who has been supporting the farmers’ agitation, said, “We regret the Red Fort incident and accept its moral responsibility. The incident should be probed.”
Delhi police promise action
Meanwhile, Delhi Police on Wednesday alleged that farmer leaders made inflammatory speeches and were involved in the violence during the tractor parade, and warned that no culprit will be spared. Addressing a press conference, Delhi police commissioner SN Srivastava said farmer unions did not follow conditions set for the tractor rally that was supposed to be held from noon to 5pm and accused them of betrayal.
He said not a single life was lost as the Delhi Police showed extreme restraint. As many as 25 FIRs have been registered so far, Srivastava said.
He said that 394 police personnel were injured while 30 police vehicles were damaged in the violence on Wednesday. The national capital witnessed clashes between protesters and police during the tractor parade by farmers on the Republic Day to press their demand of repealing three new agri laws.
The tractor parade on Tuesday that was to highlight the demands of the farmer unions to repeal three new agri laws dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the city as tens of thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
Another member of Samkyukta Kisan Morcha said this was not a favourable time for the foot march to Parliament and it can be deferred to some other day.
The Delhi Police has registered 22 FIRs so far in connection with the violence that broke out during the farmers’ tractor parade in the national capital leaving over 300 policemen injured, officials said on Wednesday.
An official said multiple videos and CCTV footage are being scanned to identify farmers involved in the violence on Tuesday and that strict action will be taken against the culprits.