Delhi Police clears tractor rally, say farmers; police contradicts claim
Farmers protesting against the central government's agricultural laws on Saturday claimed that the Delhi Police approved their plan to hold a tractor rally on Republic Day (Tuesday). The farmers will reportedly stage a 100-km tractor rally in Delhi in protest against the contentious laws. However, the police have apparently contradicted the claim of the grant of permission for the rally. Here are more details.
On Saturday, farmer leaders had said that they will hold a 100-km tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day after receiving approval from the Delhi Police, NDTV reported. However, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava was quoted as saying by the publication, "Farmers have not given us any route in writing. We will let you know once we receive a route in writing."
After attending a meeting between the farmer unions and the police, farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar said Saturday the tractor rally will start from the Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri border points of Delhi. Swaraj India's Yogendra Yadav added that the farmers had reached an agreement on the rally route, and the same was to be finalized later on Saturday night.
Yadav said the tractor rally—which is expected to include over two lakh tractors—will not affect the Republic Day parade on Delhi's Rajpath. Notably, the farmers said the tractor rally will be taken out post noon after the Republic Day parade concludes.
According to PTI, farmer leaders have decided on five routes in-principle, adding the 70-78% of the routes will be inside Delhi. The parade from Singhu border will head to Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, passing by Kanjhawala and Bawana, before returning to the protest site, sources told PTI. Farmers camping at Tikri will cover areas like Nangloi, Najafgarh, Badli, and Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway, they said.
For months, farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified in November-end as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, camping at the city's borders. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.
On Thursday, after weeks of talks with the central government, farmers had rejected a proposal from the Centre to suspend the laws for 18 months. During the 11th round of talks on Friday, the government urged the farmers to reconsider, indicating that they will not stretch further. The farmers have maintained they will settle for nothing less than a complete rollback of the laws.