Political call taken to allow tractor rally despite concerns raised by Delhi Police: Report

By: |
January 27, 2021 11:31 AM

Tractor rally violence: The intelligence agencies had expressed apprehensions of law and order problems if the tractor rally was allowed into the national capital on Republic Day. The agencies had inputs that attempts would be made to break the barricades and enter the city.

Protestors yesterday broke barricades to enter Central Delhi. (IE)

Farmers protests on Republic Day: The decision to allow the tractor rally in the city was taken at the political level despite red flags raised by the Delhi Police in several meetings in the Ministry of Home Affairs, The Indian Express reported citing sources. The police had concerns that the tractor parade could go off course but the political call was to allow the protestors else they could take a ‘more confrontationist’ stand.

The intelligence agencies had expressed apprehensions of law and order problems if the tractor rally was allowed into the national capital on Republic Day. The agencies had inputs that attempts would be made to break the barricades and enter the city. And this is why the police had earlier denied permission for a tractor rally.

“However, the government was of the opinion that not allowing farmers to hold the rally would only make them more ‘confrontationist and aggressive’, as they were expected to go ahead with the rally, with or without permission. So a middle ground was negotiated, where the farmers could hold their tractor rally without entering the heart of the city on Republic Day,” a Home ministry official told IE.

As per the report, the official said that it was anticipated that a section of protesters would try to enter the city. It was for this reason, he said, that heavy barricading was done at Tikri, Singhu, Nangloi, and Ghazipur borders. The Delhi Police had used iron and cement barricades. Ghazipur road was blocked using a container loaded with sand. But nothing could stop the farmers who knocked down cement barricades and towed away the sand container.

The report says that the Delhi Police kept receiving inputs about the possibility of protesters marching towards Rajpath and Red Fort. At 12.30 pm, the report said, a message was sent by the Special Branch of Delhi Police to all DCPs and senior officers. The message clearly stated that inputs had been received that the “reaching of farmers with tractors to Rajpath, India Gate, Red Fort, Ramlila Ground, Rashtrapati Bhawan, PM residence, HM residence, Parliament House, CM House and LG House cannot be ruled out… it is suggested that adequate and prompt arrangements by local police, including women personnel, PCR, and traffic, may be deployed.”

However, by this time, the situation had already spiralled out of control and about thousands of protestors had entered Central Delhi. The IE reports that intelligence agencies had also shared inputs a day before the rally that some anti-social elements could try to disrupt peace by taking non-designated routes on Tuesday. However, once protesters breached border points at Singhu and Ghazipur, most of them had a free run until they reached Red Fort and ITO, where the deadly clash took place between police and agitators.

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