Opposition leaders including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Rahul Gandhi and others have taken to twitter to react to the farmer-police clash on Tuesday, 26 January.
Congress and AAP have also released official statements extending their support to the otherwise “peaceful farmer movement”.
As the farmers’ tractor rally scheduled for Republic Day gathered steam, protesters who were part of the march breached the route from Ghazipur to reach Delhi’s ITO area.
Police used tear gas as they broke police barricades placed opposite the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO. In visuals emerging from the spot, police can also be seen chasing and lathi-charging farmers, as the two groups clashed. Stone-pelting is also being reported in the area.
Punjab’s Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh took to twitter to urge farmers to “vacate Delhi and return to borders” stating that “violence by some elements is unacceptable”.
President of Nationalist Congress Party, Sharad Pawar told ANI that, “Nobody will support whatever happened today but the reason behind it cannot be ignored either. Those sitting calmly grew angry, the Centre didn't fulfill its responsibility. Government should act maturely and take the right decision"
“Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh held protest in a disciplined manner but Government didn’t take them seriously. As restraint ended, the tractor march was taken out. Centre’s responsibility was to keep law & order in control but they failed”, added Pawar, according to ANI.
TMC Chief and West Bengal’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee took to twitter condemning the Centre’s “insensitive attitude and indifference towards the farmers” and saying that the farm “laws were passed without taking farmers in confidence”, and the protests were dealt with casually.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted condemning the violence stating that it is not “a solution to any problem”, and the country is most affected by this. He also appealed the Modi government to repeal the agricultural laws.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted via the Congress handle that, “Agricultural laws have been imposed without communicating with the farmers, without taking the opinion of the farmers. Such black laws cannot be in the interest of the farmers. The Modi government will have to listen to the demands of the farmers. #IndiaWithFarmers”.
“We strongly condemn the violence seen in today's protest. It is regrettable that the Central govt allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent. The movement has been peaceful for the last two months”, said AAP to news agency, ANI.
“Farmer leaders have said that those who indulged in violence today were not part of the movement and were external elements. Whoever they were, the violence has certainly weakened the movement which was going on so peacefully and in a disciplined manner”, added Delhi CM Kejriwal’s party, quoted ANI.
MP Shashi Tharoor expressed his condolences for the death of a farmer who died at ITO today, and requested both parties to avoid violence.
Asking for a “united voice to be raised against the government’s attack on interests of farmers, labourers and the poor”. In a jibe, Congress posted on twitter that the “years have changed but the historical tradition of conflict has not”.
Congress added that they will always stand with the farmers.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly took stock of law and order situation in Delhi from senior Home Ministry officials, amid clashes during the protest.
On India’s 72nd Republic Day, protesting farmers entered the Red Fort and installed flags – deviating from the routes approved for the Tractor Rally by Delhi Police
Amid farmers’ Tractor Rally, the Centre temporarily suspended internet in Singhu border, Ghazipur border, Tikri border, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and adjoining areas from 12:00 hours to 23:59 hours on Tuesday, 26 January.
Several injuries have also been reported during the clash between protesting farmers and the police. The protesters were also seen riding tractors and trying to drive through the crowd and run over police personnel.
Earlier, visuals showed protesters vandalising a DTC bus as well amid the chaos created as the rally reached Delhi. Several protesters abandoned their tractors after being stopped by the police and roads were seen packed with empty tractors.