We are following set routes, not responsible for violence: SKM Leaders
New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) Farmer leaders under the ageis of Samyukta Kisan Morcha protesting against the three Central farm laws said on Tuesday that farmers of 32 unions from Punjab were following the routes for the tractor rally defined by the Delhi Police and they did not break the law and order.
Leaders of several farmers’ unions have distanced themselves from the agitating goup of farmers swarmed the historic Red Fort in the heart if of the national cqapital on Republic Day as the ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’ turned violent at several parts of Delhi.
“We are following the set routes,” said Kripa Singh, a leader from the Kisan Bachao Morcha from Punjab.
A large group of farmers riding tractors and motorcycles thronged the Red Fort carrying the tricolour and farmer union flags in their hands. A youth even climbed atop a flagpole at the 17th century monument and put up a saffron-coloured pennant on it.
When asked about the ruckus at Red Fort, Kripa Singh said, “It is the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Commitee which broke the rules.”
Major Singh Punewal, General Secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, said that some unsocial elements are trying to spoil the farmers’ agitiation.
Punewal, who was proceeding with the tractor rally, said his group has no intention to move towards the Red Fort and would follow the route set by the Delhi Police.
Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, also said that he wanted the rally to follow the defined route only.
Visuals from the spot showed farmers swarming the Red Fort even as hundreds of others played a cat-and-mouse game with Delhi Police personnel near the ITO intersection in central Delhi, which witnessed chaos as security personnel were clearly outnumbered by the protesters.
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 the way with a tractor.
The police fired tear-gas shells and lathi-charged the protesters on multiple occasions as the farmers remained adamant to move towards the Red Fort.
Later, Rapid Action Force was also deployed at the ITO intersection.
The farmers, after the confrontation with the police that lasted for around 40 minutes, moved towards Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, which houses the offices of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).