New Delhi: Protesting farmers swarmed the Red Fort in New Delhi during a ‘tractor rally’ here on the Republic Day even as police tried to prevent them from driving towards central Delhi.
The farmers barged into the 17th century monument, climbed up its ramparts and waved farmer union flags and banners and even hoisted a pennant.
Police and other security personnel deployed at the Red Fort could be seen lathi-charging the protesters even as the former were clearly outnumbered by the farmers.
A few youths climbed up the flagpole on the ramparts of the 17th century landmark and put up a saffron pennant with a religious symbol. Later, a few of them even climbed up further and fixed a farmer union flag near the spot where a bigger Tricolor was aflutter.
After sometime, security personnel succeeded in removing the farmers from the fort ramparts, after which they had skirmishes with the police and also chased them that led to injuries to several farmers and policemen.
Soon, the farmers left the spot and moved towards central Delhi.
All this occurred after thousands of farmers riding tractors and motorcycles thronged the busy ITO intersection and played cat-and-mouse games with the police to proceed towards India Gate.
In the meantime, a young farmer died near the ITO intersection in the central Delhi due to unknown reasons. Fellow farmers sat on protest on the spot along with the body of the deceased, who hailed from western Uttar Pradesh.
Chaos prevailed near the ITO intersection in central Delhi as hundreds of farmers rallied there to outnumber the security personnel at the spot.
Other video clips showed farmers chasing away policemen on foot as well with tractors, and trying to remove a DTC bus parked across the ITO road stretch by pushing it out of way with a tractor.
The police fired tear-gas shells and lathi-charged the protesters on different occasions as farmers remained adamant to move towards the Red Fort.
Later, Rapid Action Force and the Border Security Force was also deployed at the ITO intersection.
The farmers, after confrontation with police that lasted for around 40 minutes, moved towards Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, which houses the offices of Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party.
Later, farmers opened another front in the Nangloi area as they removed a trailer truck parked across the road to stop them.
Hundreds of farmers overturned the trailer to make way for the tractors to enter the national capital and even damaged temporary police tents set up at Nangloi.
On Tuesday morning, a section of farmers stationed at Singhu and Tikri borders started their tractor parade much ahead of the scheduled time to enter the national capital in violation of an agreement with authorities. Skirmishes with police were reported from multiple fronts as farmers gathered at Karnal Bypass, Mukarba Chowk, Transport Nagar, Akshardham, Ghazipur and Tikri borders. Some farmers armed with swords were seen brandishing the weapons.
Police fired tear-gas shells on farmers after they entered Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar from the Delhi-Haryana border at Singhu.
Visuals of protesters riding horses were witnessed at the Karnal Bypass while others broke through barricades at Singhu and Mukarba Chowk. Some farmers damaged trucks and DTC buses parked on roads to stop them to enter towards central Delhi.
On Sunday, Delhi Police had allowed the tractor rally after the official Republic Day parade.
During their talks with the police, the protesters were told that they could not disrupt the celebrations on the Rajpath even as farmers insisted their parade would be “peaceful”.