On Tuesday (January 26), India witnessed a series of intense clashes at the national capital between protesting farmers and the Delhi police, that even reached the Red Fort.
Wielding sticks and clubs and holding the tricolour and union flags, tens of thousands of farmers atop tractors broke barriers, clashed with police and entered the city from various points to lay siege to the Red Fort and climb the flagpole on Republic Day on Tuesday.
In connection with the events, the Delhi Police has hardened its stance regarding the farmers, noting that the protesters violated conditions agreed for the rally.
"The time and the routes for the tractor rally were finalised after several rounds of meetings. But farmers drove tractors off the routes and before the fixed time, leading to vandalism in which many police personnel were injured," news agency ANI quoted Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava as saying.
The Delhi Police Commissioner highlighted that the farmers' protest at display today led to extensive damage to public property, and left several policemen injured.
"Public properties have also been damaged. I appeal to the protesting farmers not to indulge in violence, maintain peace and return through the designated routes," Shrivastava said.
Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal said that the farmers began their tractor parade before the scheduled time and resorted to violence and vandalism.
"Protesters turned violent at some places. Many police personnel were injured and public properties also damaged. Police exercised restraint and used force only when needed. I appeal to protesters to return through the designated routes and maintain peace," Singhal said.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had met with senior officials from the Home Ministry to take stock of the law and order situation in the national capital, following intense clashes between protesting farmers and Delhi police that even reached the Red Fort.
Since this morning, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been getting hourly updates and has been monitoring the situation in Delhi.
Senior Delhi police officials briefed Union Home secretary Ajay Bhalla about the situation in the afternoon.
The Ministry had also ordered the suspension of internet services at Delhi's border points - Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and areas adjoining these protest hubs due to the tense security situation in the national capital.
The order was reportedly issued by the MHA after the Delhi Police briefed about the situation and requested to suspend services in some parts of Delhi. The ministry will review this order shortly and will decide further course of action, informed sources.
Earlier today, reports of farmers breaking barricades to enter Delhi and resorting to vandalism poured from several parts of the city. The entry and exit gates of several Metro stations were also closed.
A protestor also went up the mast on the ramparts of the Red Fort and raised a flag he was carrying at the place where the Tricolour is hoisted.
Several people, including police personnel, suffered injuries during the clash between protesting farmers and police.
Police used tear gas shells to disperse the protesting farmers at ITO in central Delhi.Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
(With inputs from agencies)