As Delhi plunged into an abyss of wanton violence, chaos, and disorder during the ongoing tractor rally, self-proclaimed farmers leaders Rakesh Tikait and Yogendra Yadav appeared to distance themselves from the mayhem.
Speaking for the first time since violence swept the streets of Delhi, one of the ‘farmers leaders’, Rakesh Tikait turned a blind eye to the carnage and claimed that his faction has been peaceful.
Rakesh Tikait speaks for first time after the violence started, says his faction has been peaceful.— Padmaja joshi (@PadmajaJoshi) January 26, 2021
Even as cases of vandalism and violence were being reported from different parts of the national capital, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said that the tractor march is ‘peaceful’ and that he had no knowledge of whether the protest had turned violent. Tikait’s remarks came as the protesters vandalized several vehicles, including DTC buses at the ITO area, videos of which have gone viral on the internet.
“Rally is going on peacefully. I don’t have any knowledge of it. We are at Ghazipur and are releasing the traffic here,” Rakesh Tikait, Spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said.
Another ‘farmer’ leader at the forefront of organising the Tractor Rally, Ichchadhari protester Yogendra Yadav, took to Twitter to allege that there had been no violence or lathi-charge by the police on the protesters. He dismissed the reports of violence and baton-charge as rumours and appealed to the protesters to not break the barricades or stray away from the agreed-upon route.
सभी साथियों से अपील है कि संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा के द्वारा निर्धारित रूट पर ही परेड करें। उससे अलग होने से आंदोलन को सिर्फ नुकसान ही होगा।— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) January 26, 2021
शांति ही किसान आन्दोलन की ताकत है। शांति टूटी तो सिर्फ आंदोलन को नुकसान होगा।
“As per my information, there has been no lathi-charge, no bullets have been fired. These are just rumours, so don’t pay attention to them…I appeal to my fellow protesters to abide by the route that was finalised by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and not veer away from the agreed-upon route,” Yadav said.
Protesters in tractor Rally indulge in violence, try to run over police personnel
The anti-farm law agitation, which began in November last year, reached its zenith on the occasion of Republic Day. When the protestors announced their plans to conduct a massive tractor rally and march to the National Capital to protest against the historic farm laws, aspersions were cast about the possibility of violence and destruction.
Thousands of farmers breached barricades and proceeded towards Delhi amid huge police presence as they kicked off their tractor rally on Republic Day. Chaos was unleashed on the streets leading to the national capital as protesters flouted the designated route and marched towards the Parliament. A legion of protesters reached the Red Fort and desecrated the iconic UNESCO world heritage site.
The participants of the tractor rally also resorted to vandalism as they ran amok on the highways, attacking the trucks and breaking the barricades that were put up by the Delhi police to control their route. As disorder swept over the city’s borders, protesters were baton-charged and tear-gassed by the policemen on duty.
The upheaval was primarily caused after the protesters who were allowed to hold the “Kisaan Parade” between 12 to 5 PM, started the march much before the allotted time and veered away from the agreed-upon routes. The security personnel had tried in vain to convince the farmers to stick to the plan of holding the tractor parade after the conclusion of the Republic Day parade at Rajpath. But, their requests fell on deaf ears as the protesters ran riot, breaking barricades and vandalising vehicles on their way.