Farmers of Haryana welcome there counterparts from Punjab moving towards Delhi to take part in their Republic Day tractor rally as part of the ongoing agitation against farm reform laws at Shambu Punjab-Haryana border near Patiala on Sunday.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police on Sunday allowed holding of the tractor rally by the farmers in the national capital on Republic Day after the official parade and under strict security arrangements. The farmers will hold the tractor rally as a mark of protest against the centre’s three agri laws. They have claimed that over two lakh tractors will take part in their parade. Amidst reports of over 300 Twitter handles getting generated from Pakistan to disrupt the farmers' tractor rally, the Delhi Police has issued circular for special security arrangements on the day.
Here are the key developments of the day:
1. Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava issued a circular regarding the security arrangements for the tractor rally by protesting farmers that will be held after the Republic Day celebration on Tuesday. The circular said that all officers and personnel as well as Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and any other force deployed for the Republic Day Parade security arrangements should be made aware and be prepared that they will be required for law and order arrangements immediately after the official celebration is over. Arrangements of lunch for police personnel should be made and they be kept in readiness at their points of duty under the charge of their respective zonal/sector officers, it said. On Sunday, the police said the farmers' proposed tractor rally will start after the time period of the Republic Day celebration has ended. The rally will be held from Delhi's three border points - Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur - and adequate security will be provided to it, the police said.
2. Delhi Police has Sunday claimed that over 300 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan to disrupt the tractor rally proposed by protesting farmers on Republic Day. Detailing the plan for the tractor parade, Deependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) said the rally on Tuesday will be conducted amid tight security after the Republic Day celebrations conclude. "Over 300 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan during January 13 to 18 to disrupt the tractor rally by farmers only by misleading people. There are inputs about the same from different agencies too. It will be a challenging task for us but the rally will be conducted amid tight security after the Republic Day parade is over," Pathak said at a press conference. Pathak said, “As the farmers wanted to do a tractor rally on January 26, we have come to a conclusion that the rally will be conducted after the timing of the Republic Day Celebration ends. We have given them around 170 kilometres of distance in three routes.” Barricades and other security arrangements will be removed and the farmers will enter the national capital. Later, they will return to their destinations after covering a "respectable" distance, police said.
3. Over two lakh tractors will be part of the January 26 'kisan parade' in the national capital and around 2,500 volunteers will be deployed to facilitate the movement of the vehicles, farmer unions opposing the centre's new agri laws claimed. The number of volunteers can be increased, depending on the crowd, and a control room has been set up to look into the arrangements, they said. Kirti Kisan union president Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, who presided over a meeting of Punjab farmers' unions, said that more than one lakh tractors are expected to arrive from the state on Sunday. The main focus of the meeting was to discuss the tractor parade to be taken on Republic Day, Singh said after the over three-hour-long meeting at Singhu.
4. Protesting farmer leaders have remained firm on their demand of a complete repeal of the three contentious farm laws, and said their immediate focus is on the January 26 tractor parade. The union leaders said the next course of action will be decided only after the tractor parade. "Since the beginning of our agitation, our demand is very clear. We want a complete repeal of these three laws, and we will not settle for anything less than the repeal of the new farm laws," Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said. He said that farmer unions are currently focusing on their proposed January 26 tractor parade, and after the Republic Day, they will decide on the next course of action.
5. Shooting of actor Janhvi Kapoor's upcoming film ‘Good Luck Jerry’ was disrupted after a group of farmers held a protest in Patiala, Punjab. The incident took place near the Civil Lines area when protesting farmers opposed the filming of the movie. Shouting slogans against Bollywood, protesters lamented that “no actor” extended support to farmers' agitation against the centre's three farm laws. “We are telling the film industry which is holding its shooting in Punjab to at least speak in favour of farmers who are agitating against the legislations,” said a protester Rajwant Singh Sandhu. Another protester said, “We are opposing Bollywood actors for not extending support to farmers.” They also slammed the centre for imposing “black laws” on the farming community. Some farmers held protest outside the hotel where the film's crew is staying. Earlier this month, shooting of the film had briefly come to a halt at Bassi Pathana in Fatehgarh Sahib after a group of farmers had insisted that Janhvi make a comment on the ongoing farmers' protest.
6. Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu was allegedly assaulted, pushed around and his turban pulled off in what he described was a "murderous attack" by some "mischievous elements" at the Singhu border during a 'Jan Sansad' programme. The Ludhiana MP's vehicle was also damaged in the attack at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Memorial where he had gone with Congress' Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and party MLA Kulbir Singh Zira to attend the event. "Some mischievous elements whose intentions were unknown, tried to spoil the situation by launching a murderous attack on three of us," Bittu said in a Facebook post. Bittu, the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh who was assassinated in 1995, Aujla and Zira have been holding a protest at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi for the past several days in support of the ongoing farmers' agitation against the Centre's three agriculture laws.
7. The upcoming Parliament session will be "stormy" if farmers' demand of repealing of the new agri laws is not accepted by the government, Congress' Lok Sabha chief whip Kodikunnil Suresh said, asserting that his party will strongly raise the issue of the tillers' agitation in both Houses. The Budget session of Parliament is starting from January 29 and it will be held in two parts. The first part will conclude on February 15 and the second part will be held from March 8 to April 8. Suresh said issues such as farmers' agitation and the purported WhatsApp chats of Republic's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami will be raised by the Congress strongly. "Our main priority is the farmers' agitation and we plan to strongly raise the farmers' issue both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. We will make use of all measures such as adjournment motion to discuss and debate the issue," he said. "We are also in touch with like-minded parties to have a joint strategy for the upcoming Parliament session with the main issue being the farmers' agitation," he said.
8. Thousands of farmers from across Maharashtra reached Mumbai on Sunday evening to participate in a rally at the state capital on Monday against the centre's three new farm laws. The police have stepped up security at Azad Maidan, the rally's venue in south Mumbai, and personnel of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) have also been deployed there. Drones will also be used to keep an eye on the event, a police official said. The All India Kisan Sabha's (AIKS) Maharashtra unit in a statement said around 15,000 farmers had set out for the state capital from Nashik on Saturday in several tempos and other vehicles. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and some other prominent leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state will address the rally on Monday, the release said. The state Congress unit, which is an ally of the MVA, has already extended its support to the protest.
9. Several ‘khaps' of Haryana are set to join farmers' tractor parade in Delhi on the Republic Day with thousands of these vehicles leaving various caste councils' villages for the national capital on Sunday. About 1,500 tractors from villages under the Kandela khap set out on Sunday for the 'tractor parade' in Delhi, Khap head Tekram Kandela said. “We have started from Jind. We will be proceeding in a peaceful and orderly manner and follow the route allotted by the authorities for the parade,” Kandela said. The Kandela khap, which had spearheaded a farmers' agitation in Haryana nearly two decades ago, has lent its support to farmers against the new farm laws. Several other ‘khaps' too are backing farmers' agitation against the new farm laws.
10. More batches of farmers from Punjab set out for Delhi to participate in the proposed tractor parade on January 26. A batch of 500 tractors-trolleys left Amritsar and several groups of growers from Phagwara, Hoshiarpur and other places of Punjab moved towards the national capital to take part in the tractor parade, farmer leaders said. Kisan Sangharsh Union leader Baldev Singh Verka in Amritsar said, "Today as many as 500 more tractor trolleys left for Delhi to join the tractor parade. "Each tractor-trolley will carry 20 persons along with bedding and eating arrangement for a 14-hour-long journey to Delhi".