New Delhi: In a brazen display of hooliganism, storm troopers – their faces covered – conveniently managed to reach close to the tents put up by protesting farmers at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu Border amid heavy deployment of security personnel. They were demanding that the peasants vacate the road where a peaceful sit-in against the three contentious Farm Laws enacted by the Centre have been going on since November 26 last year.
Following charged and provocative sloganeering for some time, the stick-wielding goons, supposedly from Delhi’s Narela and Bawana resorted to violence. They tore one of the tents, attacked its occupants and vandalised farmers’ belongings — including a washing machine. They soon started pelting stones at the farmers, some of whom too retaliated initially, but were pacified by their leaders.
All this was happening in full public view and amid heavy deployment of security forces. The police too were seen entering the tent behind the large group of hooligans as if they were providing cover to the goons. A masked man snatched his fellow rioter’s stick. Hurling abuses, he tried to charge a turbaned youth in the same tent, which was torn. Several policemen were around the attacker, but did not stop him from doing so.
When the boy flashed his sheathed sword to scare the goon, he was overpowered by the cops, dragged outside and thrashed. The rioters too joined the men in uniform in physically assault the young man. Later, he was bundled in a police van and taken away. However, the rioters were seemingly given a free run.
The Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel deployed at the spot were seeing acting like mute spectators while the stone pelting was happening. Sensing possible retaliation from the other side, the police resorted to lathi-charge and fired tear gas shells. After visible lawlessness right under the nose of the police, the situation was brought under control.
Close to 30 tear gas shells were reportedly fired. Protesting farmers claimed they maintained restraint, alleging that the attack was orchestrated under the police “cover” provided by “Bharatiya Janata Party-supported goons” to create “anarchy”. They said it was done so that a message can be given out that the protesting peasants were indulging in vandalism and lawlessness.
They alleged that several of their men and women suffered injuries in the attack, with their belongings destroyed and tents set ablaze. “When all entrances to the protest venue has been sealed from the Delhi side of the border, when the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has been prevented from supplying food and water and the Delhi government’s water tankers were not allowed to enter the area, how were attackers armed with sticks and stones allowed to reach there by the Delhi Police?” the farmers asked.
Several policemen also suffered injuries in the attack. The station house officer (SHO) of Alipur was stabbed shortly after stone-pelting ensued.
To diffuse tensions and calm the protesters in view of the attack, chants of ‘Satnam Waheguru’ were heard from the stage. Soon, senior farmer leaders took to the stage and appealed for peace. They urged their youth: “Lakhs of you are here, but you do not have to respond to such provocation. We appeal you to maintain peace, which is our strength. We will continue our peaceful struggle and we will win,” they said, appealing people to join the protest in large numbers. “Since our food supplies have been cut, we also appeal you to come here with ration,” they said.
CPM Pins Blame on BJP/RSS
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) accused the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of sending the goons to Singhu Border. Condemning the attack on farmers, the party demanded answers from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“BJP/RSS goons brought in to attack farmers at Singhu Border while the police and the RAF stationed there remain mute spectators. Usual Sanghi playbook of provocation being enacted. CPIM strongly condemns this attack. Home Minister must answer,” the party tweeted.
BJP/RSS goons brought in to attack Farmers at #SinghuBorder while Police and RAF stationed there remain mute spectators. Usual Sanghi playbook of provocation being enacted.
CPIM strongly condemns this attack. Home Minister must answer. pic.twitter.com/XBTmjFY3o5
— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) January 29, 2021
The question that remains is: How were those protesting against the ongoing farmers’ agitation allowed to venture so close to their tents, weapons in tow, when entry has been closed.
Farmers have been protesting for over two months now at five border points around Delhi, with the agitation taking a violent turn after the tractor parade called by the farmers’ leaders on January 26 — India’s 72nd Republic Day.
The tractor rally turned violent in prominent areas of Delhi like Red Fort, ITO, Delhi-Meerut expressway, Nangloi, Sarai Kale Khan and pockets of central Delhi.