A Bloody Republic Day
Delhi witnessed chaos on the 26th of January, 2021. On foot as well as on tractors, the farmers had planned a peaceful rally to protest against the farm laws on India’s Republic day. The rally was supposed to follow a fixed route spread across the northern, eastern, and western parts of Delhi and then return to the border.
This did not happen.
The Republic Day celebrations took a bloody turn when one of the protester groups deviated from their route and swarmed into the capital. Some of the protesters clambered on to the Red fort and hoisted the Nishan Sahib, the holy Sikh flag traditionally flown over Gurudwaras as well as one of the farm union flags alongside the Indian Tricolor.
The police retaliated violently and used tear gas, Lathi charges as well as water cannons to control the protestors which resulted in the death of one protestor leaving many others injured.
The trouble mainly started the night before when hundreds of farmers swarmed the northeastern Loni border point from Uttar Pradesh and threatened entry into Delhi. They were said to be ‘directionless and leaderless’ but wanted to join the rally.
The Saiyuki Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of 500 unions – leading the protests – who was mainly responsible for negotiating both the route as well as the timing of the rally has denied any association with the groups that deviated from the route and caused chaos.