Breaking barriers to Red Fort march — timeline of how farmer protest turned ugly within hours

Tractor rally breaks through police barricades on its way to Red Fort, with farmers vandalising vehicles. Delhi Police lobs tear gas shells and resorts to lathi-charge to control the crowd.

Farmers hoisting flags from the Red Fort rampart | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Farmers hoisting flags from the Red Fort rampart | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

New Delhi: A tractor rally by farmers Tuesday, against three contentious farm laws of the Modi government, turned violent after protesters deviated from the route approved by the Delhi Police.

Thousands of farmers entered the city and reached ITO and the Red Fort located in central Delhi, clashing with police who took out a lathi-charge. The farmers also vandalised buses and breached barricades on their way. One farmer died, according to police.

Here’s a timeline of how the farmers’ protests turned ugly Tuesday after almost two months of peaceful agitation.

2.40 am: Delhi Police put up barriers on the G.T. Karnal road and the Daulatpur area near the borders where the farmers have been protesting.

7.00 am: Farmers gather separately at Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri borders ahead of the tractor rally to protest against the three farm laws passed last September. Many of the tractors have the Indian tricolour on them.

8.00 am: The farmers’ tractor rally commences from Singhu border towards Kanjhawala Chowk-Auchandi border-KMP-GT road junction. The farmers at Tikri and Ghazipur border also start their rally.

8.50 am: Farmers begin breaking the police barricades at the Tikri border.

9.25 am: Despite this, the rally at Tikri border continues. The designated route is Tikri border-Nangloi-Baprola village-Najafgarh-Jharoda border-Rohtak bypass-Asoda toll plaza.

9.40 am: The tractor rally from Singhu border reaches Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar in Delhi.

10.30 am: Residents of Delhi’s Swaroop Nagar area shower flower petals on farmers from Ghazipur border.

11.00 am: Delhi Police use tear gas to disperse farmers at Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar after they refuse to stick to the designated route and try to march towards the Outer Ring Road. In response, the farmers climb the water cannons of the police.

11.30 am: Farmers move on from Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar and climb atop police vehicles at Mukarba Chowk in Delhi and also remove police barricades. At the same time, protesters at the Karnal bypass also break police barricades to enter Delhi.

12.15 pm: Farmers from the Ghazipur border reach Pragati Maidan and then move towards ITO.

12.30 pm: Protesting farmers vandalise a DTC bus and police vehicles, and break the barricades at ITO.

Farmers during tractor rally in New Delhi on 26 January 2021 | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Violence during farmers tractor rally near ITO, New Delhi on 26 January 2021 | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

12.48 pm: Delhi Police resort to lathicharge at Chintamani Chowk in Shahdara near Ghazipur border but farmers riding tractors push through the barricades.

12.55 pm: Police use tear gas shells as well as lathi-charge crowds to disperse them from Delhi’s ITO area.

1.10 pm: Delhi Police personnel form a human chain and block the road in Delhi’s Nangloi area to prevent the tractor protest from Tikri border from going further. However, the farmers break through this and continue on.

1.15 pm: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation shuts entry and exit gates of several stations in central and North Delhi. Delhi Police appeal to farmers to not take the law into their hands and urge them to maintain peace.

1:30 – 1:45 pm:  Protesting farmers reach Red Fort.

2.00 pm: Farmers enter the Red Fort and wave flags from the ramparts of the fort. Some also hoist their farmers’ union flags as well as the Nishan Sahib at the Red Fort.

3.00 pm: One of the protestors puts the Nishan Sahib on the dome at Red Fort.

3.30 pm: Internet services are suspended in some parts of Delhi-NCR in light of the farmers’ protests and the prevailing law and order situation. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announces temporary suspensions of internet services in parts of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi till midnight of 26 January.

3.40 pm: Police remove protesting farmers from Red Fort premises, resort to lathi-charging.

3.40 pm: Police also resort to baton charging and fire tear gas shells to disperse farmers at Nangloi Chowk in West Delhi.

4:00 pm: One of the protesting farmers dies at ITO after his tractor is overturned, Delhi Police confirm.

5.15 pm: Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella farmers’ union leading the protests,  disassociates itself from violent protesters and claims ‘anti-social elements’ infiltrated the rally.

6.10 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah holds review meeting and takes stock of law and order situation in Delhi-NCR.

6.30 pm: Delhi Police issues statement saying farmers violated fixed conditions set down for the rally, based on which they were earlier given permission to enter the city.

Also read: Samyukta Kisan Morcha disassociates from violent protesters, blames ‘anti-social elements’