NEW DELHI: Thousands of protesting farmers knocked down police barricades and entered Delhi today morning to kick start their tractor rally on the occasion of 72nd Republic Day. With the increasing chaos near the capital’s borders, protestors were baton-charged and tear gas shells were fired by the deployed policemen.
However, visuals from early morning at the border showed farmers entering the city on tractors, while many marched holding flags ahead of the rally. The tractor rally, termed the Kisan Gantantra Parade, was expected to get under way after 12 noon. However, protesters in large numbers gathered at the borders from 8 am. More than 5,000 protesters had gathered at the Singhu border.
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Thousands were seen marching with flags; rows of tractors were seen on the three routes that were cleared the Delhi Police. A dramatic video from Delhi’s Akshardham showed policemen firing tear gas shells from an overbridge as protesters on road looked for cover.
According to reports, three routes have been cleared for the farmers to hold the parade―63-km route near Singhu Border, 62.5 km-long route from Tikri border, a 68-km long route from Ghazipur border that divides Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
The agitating farmers have been allowed to hold the tractor rally after the Republic Day parade at Rajpath that will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, among other leaders. This year’s celebrations are a scaled-down affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farmers have been in a sit-in protest at various border points in Delhi to protest against the controversial farm laws passed by the government since November. Several rounds of talks between the government and farmers’ unions have been held, but have failed to end the standoff.
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