Tractor rally violence: The Centre missed the elephant in the room by allowing the farmers' tractor rally, ignoring red flags raised by intelligence units.
Tractor rally violence: There was discontent between youth leaders and SKM leaders over the route agreed with Delhi Police. (Express Photo)
The Centre missed the elephant in the room by allowing the farmers to proceed with the tractor rally, despite intelligence inputs predicting a scenario similar to what eventually transpired on the streets of Delhi on Republic Day. After Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter and despite Delhi Police raising red flags, a political call was taken and farmer unions were allowed to take out tractor rally with 37 conditions. But a look at the events at Singhu Border a day before the tractor rally gave a clear indication of the mayhem that was to come on January 26. The events suggested that the farmer leaders were aware of the nefarious designs of some elements but failed to keep their flock together.
According to a report in The Indian Express, some fringe elements who took over the stage from Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) at Singhu Border on Monday gave the call of ‘our route, Ring Road’.
There was discontent between youth leaders and SKM leaders over the route agreed with Delhi Police. They registered their protest openly on the stage and it was even shown on some Punjabi web channels as well. Initially, there were only unknown faces on the stage but soon leaders like Lakhbir Singh Sidhana alias Lakha Sidhana, who is the president of the Malwa Youth Federation and is a gangster-turned-politician, and actor Deep Sidhu took to the stage and addressed the gathering.
Sidhana told the gathering that thousand of youths want to take the Ring Road and a farmer union, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, has already decided to take out the tractor rally on the Ring Road. He asked people to follow the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee if they want to take the Ring Road route.
Addressing the people, Sidhu said that farmer union leaders are under pressure and asked people not to pressurise them more. He said that the leaders should take a decision which is acceptable to all. Sidhu added that if they don’t come to the stage and make a decision, then the youth will take their own decision.
It was this moment that may have incited the people and shifted the narrative from marching on the route agreed by SKM to take the Ring Road and reach Red Fort instead. What happened on Republic Day was there for all to see.
Deep Sidhu, however, posted a video on social media after the Red Fort incident and said that what happened at the Red Fort was the outcome of the protest that has been underway for several months. The mobilisation of people in such a huge number cannot be blamed on one person.
Meanwhile, the SKM has distanced itself from yesterday’s event.