On Red Fort rampage, Rakesh Tikait says farmers deflected 'unknowingly'
Rakesh Tikait from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spoke on Tuesday's Red Fort incident claiming that "some farmers" deflected toward the Delhi monument "unknowingly" and returned after police guided them. He also asserted that "uneducated people" were driving the tractors and were unaware of the roads of the national capital. Since the incident, farmers leaders' have, naturally, distanced themselves from it.
On Republic Day, farmers stormed into Red Fort, hoisted flags
Yesterday, groups of farmers, who had been allowed to hold their tractor march after the Republic Day parade on Rajpath ends, deviated from the pre-decided path to wreak havoc in Delhi. They clashed with police in areas like ITO, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi, and also in Old Delhi. The protesters drove their tractors into the Red Fort complex and also hoisted religious flags there.
Prominent leader said tractors were driven by uneducated farmers
Yesterday's scary visuals showed that security personnel were outnumbered against hundreds of farmers. When protesters charged at khaki-clad cops with lathis, they ran for cover. Tikait, one of the most prominent faces of the agitation, sort of defended the rampage by saying, "Uneducated people were driving tractors, they didn't know the paths of Delhi. Administration told them the way towards Delhi (sic)."
'This is not a movement of Sikhs but farmers'
"Those who created violence and unfurled flags at Red Fort will have to pay for their deeds. For the last two months, a conspiracy is going on against a particular community. This is not a movement of Sikhs, but farmers, (sic)" Tikait added.
In one clip, he asked protesters to carry sticks
Tikait also addressed the undated viral video, wherein he can be seen asking the protesters to be armed with lathis and carry flags. The government is not moving from its position, he lamented in the clip. When asked about it, he replied, "We said bring your own sticks. Please show me a flag without a stick, I will accept my mistake."
Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee also blamed 'anti-social' elements
Besides Tikait, other farmers' leaders also asserted they had nothing to do with the violence. Sarvan Singh Pandher, the General Secretary of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (the first group to break barricades), said, "We never had any plan to go to the Red fort and stage any kind of protest over there. The aim of these anti-social elements seems to weaken the ongoing farmers' movement."
In sharp contrast, one leader held KMSC responsible
However, All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah, who is part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha group that has been negotiating with the Centre, held KMSC responsible. "We condemn such action. It is not that farmers are out of control. Some rogue criminal elements are causing the problem. There is a conspiracy to give a bad name to farmers," he told The Hindu.
I am ashamed, take responsibility: Yogendra Yadav
Yesterday, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, who has played a key role in the agitation, urged protesters to not damage the monument. Later, he said he would take responsibility. "Being a part of the protest, I feel ashamed of the way things proceeded and I take responsibility for it. Violence impacts any kind of protest in a wrong way," he reportedly said.
Ticket counter, metal detector vandalized in Red Fort
Meanwhile, fresh visuals from the Red Fort showed that protesters vandalized the ticket counter and the metal detector gate. Broken shards of glass, overturned chairs, and police caps dotted the premises. Earlier today, Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel visited the monument to take stock of the situation. To note, in the violence, one person died. The Delhi Police has registered 22 cases so far.