Farmers' tractor rally allowed but they can't disrupt R-Day parade
After weighing all options, the Delhi Police allowed protesting farmers to hold a tractor rally on Republic Day, Tuesday, in the national capital. However, the farmers have been strictly told they can't disrupt the main parade. Delhi Police, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Union Home Ministry, said on Sunday evening that they gave permission to show respect toward farmers' demands.
Farmers have been protesting against three farm laws, passed in the Parliament in mid-September. They opine these sweeping reforms will leave them at the mercy of big corporate players. To coerce the government to repeal the laws, they have been camping at Delhi's borders since November. The government held talks with them, told them it will suspend the laws, but the farmers remained adamant.
When farmers said they would organize a tractor march on R-Day, the Centre opposed this idea. The government of India approached the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the rally by arguing that it would embarrass the nation globally. The top court put the ball in Delhi Police's court, saying it is not the "first authority" to take a decision in this case.
The Delhi Police held talks with farmers to break the deadlock over holding a tractor march. The farmers were apparently suggested to hold their rally outside Delhi, citing security reasons. Rejecting this proposal, they told cops that maintaining peace "is their job." Farmers declared they will hold the rally on the Outer Ring Road and will not settle for anything less.
Last evening, Delhi Police finally gave permission but said farmers' tractor rally can start only after the iconic R-Day parade ends around noon. Farmers have been allowed to enter Delhi for a few kilometers and then leave at identified spots. However, the number of tractors that will participate in the rally hasn't been undecided. Delhi Police will provide security cover to the protesters.
Special Commissioner of Police, Intelligence, Dependra Pathak, said, "The tractor rally will enter Delhi from Tikri, Singhu, and Ghazipur borders and return to its originating points. From Singhu, it will pass through Kanjhawala, Bawana, Auchandi border, KMP Expressway and then return to Singhu."
Pathak further disclosed that the tractor rally will go from the Tikri border toward Nangloi and pass through Najafgarh and Western Peripheral Expressway. "From Ghazipur border, the rally will go to 56-foot road and return to its originating point passing through Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal Expressway," he added. The cop said police from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have also been brought on-board to handle the security/
Meanwhile, as per Pathak, as many as 308 Twitter handles have been created in Pakistan to create confusion and disturb the tractor rally. "This input has been accrued from analysis of inputs between January 13 and 18. These points were discussed with the farmer leaders," he added. He asserted farmers agreed to terms and conditions "which are binding on the participants in the rally."