Feb 1 rally still on, says SKM, blames ‘some outfits, persons’ for violence

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NEW DELHI: With events around ‘Kisan Republic Day Parade’ going against their proclaimed script of peaceful protest, farm unions’ umbrella body, Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), on Tuesday disassociated itself from violent incidents in the heart of the capital and blamed “some organisations and individuals” for violating the planned routes and indulging in “condemnable” acts.
“Antisocial elements have infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength, and that any violation would hurt the movement,” said the Morcha in a statement, issued after hundreds of protesters jumped police barricades and reached ITO and Red Fort in central Delhi.
As the protesters stationed themselves at various sites in the city, SKM called off the ‘Kisan Republic Day Parade’ on Tuesday evening and appealed to all participants to immediately return to their respective protest sites on Delhi borders — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri. It said the “movement will continue peacefully and further steps will be discussed and decided soon”. SKM leaders later said the events on Tuesday would not affect their plan to hold a protest march on foot towards Parliament on the Budget Day on February 1.
Though the Morcha has not identified the organisations and individuals responsible for violence during the tractor rally, leaders hinted at those associated with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) — the group which had rejected the route plan finalised by SKM with Delhi Police on the eve of the Republic Day. KMSC’s Punjab unit general secretary Sarvan Singh Pandher had on Monday announced to start its parade towards Outer Ring Road at 8am on Tuesday — ahead of SKM’s agreed plan to start the tractor rally after conclusion of the official parade at Rajpath.
Regretting the “undesirable and unacceptable events”, the SKM said, “We dissociate ourselves from all such elements that have violated our discipline.”


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