Delhi witnessed unprecedented scenes of chaos and violence on Tuesday – on the nation’s 72nd Republic Day – as groups of farmers protesting the centre’s agriculture laws clashed with police and security forces during what was supposed to be a peaceful tractor rally around the city’s borders.
In one video, shared online by news agency ANI, around a dozen police and paramilitary personnel can be seen forced to scramble and jump over a 15-foot wall at the Red Fort complex to escape a mob of lathi-wielding attackers.
The video shows police thrashed with lathis and sticks, and backed against the edge of a rampart.
As the attackers rush in, some of them are forced to throw themselves over the metal railing to drop at least 15 feet to the grassy knoll below. Others cling on and try to fight back.
As the video plays out, two tractors then appear; one is driven right up against the railing, which seems to break and cause a policeman holding on to it to fall to the ground below.
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2021
As the video continues more and more attackers appear, waving yellow flags and throwing objects.
The attackers then break open a nearby gate and continue on.
The video then zooms out to show similarly chaotic scenes across other ramparts.
Over 80 Delhi Police and security personnel were injured – several seriously – in Tuesday’s violence.
One farmer died after the tractor he was speeding in crashed through police barriers at the ITO junction and overturned. Other farmers, however, allege he was killed in police firing.
Two others received minor injuries, news agency PTI said, after their speeding tractor overturned too.
Apart from violence at the Red Fort, police and protesters clashed at several other spots in the city including the Singhu border, at the ITO junction and in the Nangloi area. Police resorted to lathi charges and firing tear gas shells in an attempt to disperse the protesters.
Four cases have been registered in connection with vandalism in East Delhi, where eight buses and 17 private vehicles were vandalised, news agency ANI reported.
The farmers have blamed “anti-social elements” for the violence and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a federation of 40 farmer unions, has dissociated itself from the chaos and appealed for calm.
Late Tuesday, after a meeting with senior police and government officials, Home Minister Amit Shah (to whom Delhi Police reports) ordered extra paramilitary forces to be positioned in the city.
The farmers had been given permission to hold the tractor rally along designated routes in the borders and after the Republic Day parade at Rajpath. However, by 8 am groups of farmers marched and drove their tractors through police barricades at border points, and stormed into the capital.
With input from ANI