Opposition leaders condemn violence during tractor parade

 

New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) In the wake of clashes between police and protesting farmers in Delhi on Tuesday as the tractor rally burst into the city, opposition parties condemned the violence and called for calm.

Some also attacked the government over the fracas.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, in a tweet, said: "Sheer anarchy, utter lawlessness, and an absolute mess!

"This government defines inefficiency, mismanagement, and transgression. The government has taught the world how to turn a peaceful protest into a mobocracy."

Another Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergil, however, said the protest will weaken due to such acts.

"Peace is the strength of any protest and gets weakened when you need to bank upon violence - urge both sides (protestors & police) to remain calm, follow the dharma of democracy because when lives are lost & national property is damaged then it is loss of entire Nation."

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said: "It is saddening that people are defending the sacrilege that we witnessed at the Red Fort, dear apologists there is only one flag and that is the Indian Flag that should fly high from the ramparts of our historic monument however strong a cause for protest one might have."

Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor expressed concern over the the death of a protesting farmer.

"Saddened to learn of the death of a protestor in police firing. Authorities must urge the police to observe restraint. Violence resolves nothing & resorting to it reduces the state to the level of its enemies. We must resolve this crisis through democratic means, not force," he said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury attacked the police for excessive force at ITO.

"Tear gassing and lathicharging Kisans is unacceptable. Why, after the Delhi Police & Samyukt Kisan Morcha agreement? Why is the government provoking a confrontation. They must allow the peaceful, agreed tractor parade to continue," he said in a reaction prior to the hooliganism at Red Fort.

In an unexpected development, hundreds of protesting farmers swarmed the historic Red Fort on Tuesday as their 'Kisan Gantantra Parade' turned violent at several places in the national capital.

A large group of farmers, riding tractors and motorcycles and with tricolours and farmer union flags, stormed the Red Fort. A few youths even climbed up the flagpole on the 17th century landmark and put up a saffron-coloured pennant.

Visuals from the spot showed farmers swarming the Red Fort even as hundreds of others clashed with Delhi Police personnel near the ITO intersection in central Delhi, which witnessed chaos as security personnel were clearly outnumbered by the protesters.

Other video clips showed farmers chasing away policemen and trying to remove a DTC bus parked across the ITO road stretch by pushing it out of the way with a tractor.

The police fired tear gas shells and lathi-charged the protesters on multiple occasions as farmers remained adamant to move towards the Red Fort.

--IANS

miz/vd/bg

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