Known for their association with green, some sections of farmers have now resorted to red, so to speak. For, a tractor march meant to highlight farmers’ demands dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the national capital on Tuesday, as hordes of rampaging protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, overturned vehicles and delivered a national insult — hoisting a religious flag from the rampart of Red Fort, a privilege reserved for India’s tricolour.
Thousands of protesters clashed with police in multiple places, leading to chaos in well known landmarks of Delhi and suburbs, amid waves of violence that ebbed and flowed through the day, leaving the farmers’ two-month peaceful movement in tatters. Farmers atop tractors, on motorcycles and some on horses, broke barricades to enter the city at least two hours before they were supposed to start the tractor march at noon sanctioned by authorities. Steel and concrete barriers were broken and trailer trucks overturned as pitched battles broke out in several parts of the city.
Some of the farmers were wielding deadly weapons. Leaders of farmers’ associations have claimed that anti-socials created ruckus in the tractor rally. Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 41 farmer unions, alleged that some antisocial elements infiltrated their otherwise peaceful movement. The union also condemned and regretted the ‘undesirable and unacceptable events as the parade turned violent after several groups of farmers deviated from the pre-decided route for the march.’ Violent incidents on Republic Day have brought disrepute to the whole country. It is high time for the farmers and government to choose ‘white’ (peace).