From storming Red Fort to a message for PM Modi: How Farmers' protest shaken Delhi?

India's 72nd Republic Day is different in many ways as the iconic Republic Day parade was unfolded in the background of the raging COVID-19 pandemic and incessant protests from the farmers that have been active for over two months in Delhi amid the episodes of deadlock with the Center. With their demand of repealing the three controversial farm laws, the farmers had unfolded a Tractor Rally, which eventually ended up pushing Delhi into a state of unrest with heavy clashes and violence.

While the Delhi police had consented to the farmers to carry out the Tractor Rally in the prescribed routes after the conclusion of the Republic Day parade, thousands of farmers protesting to abrogate the farm laws have broken the barricades installed by the Delhi police in their effort to enter Central Delhi towards Rajpath. The farmers had diverted the rally from the prescribed routes and began advancing towards Central Delhi, which erupted heated clashes with the police performed lathi charge and began using tear gas to restrict the farmers. 

However, braving the police clampdown, the farmers broke the barricades and stormed the Red Fort complex, and they had hoisted the flags in the national monument. In what has become an unprecedented development, the violence had witnessed the death of one protesting farmer, who died by an accident. The protesters kept the body of the deceased draped in an Indian flag and vowed to intensify the agitation till the Center repeals the three farm laws. 

Hundreds were stormed Red Fort and they ascended towards the top of the national monument, which further triggered the police to charge and remove them from the monument as Delhi has been unfolding shocking scenes hours after the iconic Republic Day parade. According to Reuters, at least five police and three protesters were injured at the Red Fort and while many farmers came on their tractors, some had come through motorbikes and horses. In a message to Prime Minister Modi, the protesters were heard saying, "Modi will hear us now, he will have to hear us now". 

The farmers had used the cranes to remove the barricades and roadblocks and entered Central Delhi. In the wake of the emergence of violence, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had reviewed the security situation in the national capital and the government has closed all the Metro stations in Delhi and suspended communication platforms in major areas to address the violence. Hours after the Republic Day parade, Delhi has been witnessing the unprecedented scale of violence between the farmers and police. 

The latest reports say that the police had removed the protesters from the Red Fort and appealed to the farmers to restore normalcy. According to ANI, a senior police officer said, "We have been appealing to farmers to go by pre-approval route but some of them broke police barricades, attacked police personnel. We are appealing to farmers' unions to help maintain peace".  

The leaders of the protesting farmers had also called people to maintain peace. In a statement, farmers' union Samyukta Kisan Morcha said, "We thank farmers for the unprecedented participation today. We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts". 

Thousands of farmers from across the country have been camped in Delhi for over two months to demand the Center to repeal the three farm laws which the peasants fear would destroy the grounds of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and would pump in the private players in the agricultural sector. With several rounds of talks with the Center failed, the farmers announced for Tractor Rally on January 26 and they organized the rally to press the Center to pay heed to their demand. 

However, the rally had eventually stirred up the clashes and violence with Delhi police lathi-charging the farmers to disperse them from entering Central Delhi. Several opposition leaders had condemned the Delhi police for attacking the farmers and urged the Center to repeal the farm laws.