R-Day rally: 20 farmer leaders served notices by Delhi Police
Two days after a farmers' protest rally took a violent turn, the Delhi Police has issued notices to at least 20 farmer leaders for defying an agreement regarding the rally. After two months of camping at Delhi's borders in protest against the Centre's agricultural laws, the farmers had staged a tractor rally on the occasion of India's 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday.
According to ANI, the notices have been issued to at least 20 farmer leaders including Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav over the breach of an agreement with the police regarding the timing and routes for the rally. Balbir S Rajewal and Baldev Singh Sirsa are among those who have been sent the notices. The leaders have been asked to reply within three days.
On Wednesday, DCP Chinmoy Biswal had sent a notice to Sanyukt Kisan Morcha Darshan Pal seeking clarification as to why he and his allies should not face action for defying the rally agreement. Biswal had said the farmers' wrong intent was apparent on January 25, when "militant component of protesting farmers and fabricated tractors" were brought forward at the Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur borders.
Farmers protesting against the agricultural laws had planned to stage a tractor rally on Republic Day from 12 pm-5 pm, vowing to not disrupt the traditional parade at Rajpath. Violence ensued as the protesters broke police barricades, starting the rally over an hour early, and also changed their routes. Later, some protesters breached the Red Fort and unfurled the Sikh flag 'Nishan Sahib'.
One farmer died during the violence, while over 300 cops were injured, the police said. Farmer unions have since canceled their proposed Parliament march on February 1. While two farmer unions have withdrawn from the protest, the agitation will continue.
At least 25 cases have been registered by the police for rioting, criminal conspiracy, among other charges. Several farmer leaders, including Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, and Yogendra Yadav, have been named. The police have arrested 19 people and detained about 50 others. The Delhi Police on Thursday also issued a lookout notice against farmer union leaders and their passports will be seized.