For two months now, thousands of farmers have been protesting outside the national capital, demanding the repeal of three contentious laws. The protesters had garnered widespread support from Opposition leaders with many urging the Narendra Modi-led government to listen to the farmers.
Many including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had even joined protests against the farm laws. "The government has failed the nation and the farmers. Why did they pass the laws in such haste without consulting the stakeholders?" the Thiruvananthapuram MP had said in December last year.
But as the protesting farmers raised flags at the Red Fort many including the Conrgess leader spoke out sternly against the agitators, dubbing their actions as being "most unfortunate".
"I have supported the farmers’ protests from the start but I cannot condone lawlessness. And on Republic Day no flag but the sacred tiranga should fly aloft the Red Fort," Tharoor tweeted.
The farmers had been slated to hold a tractor rally to the the national capital on Republic Day. Things however got increasingly chaotic as barricades were set up against their approach in some areas. Visuals showed the protesters breaking through the barricades, and clashing with the police even as they were countered with water cannons and tear gas.
As the agitation intensified, the protesters deviated from the pre-set route, eventually entering the premises of Red Fort in the national capital and waving flags. Some of the protesters also installed flags in the lower ramparts of the Red Fort. This included the Nishan Sahib as well as union flags.