New Delhi: The “conspiracy” that culminated in violence during the farmers’ tractor rally on 26 January began soon after the three contentious farm laws were passed by Parliament in September, Delhi Police have suggested in one of the 33 FIRs registered in the matter.
In the FIR, a copy of which is with ThePrint, Delhi Police have accused over 30 people, including activists Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar, of misleading farmers and instigating them to violence during the tractor rally.
The FIR has been registered under the IPC sections for rioting, criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, assaulting and obstructing public servant, attempt to murder, dacoity and robbery.
According to the FIR, the leaders named misled the farmers on the farm laws, encouraged them to sit for a protest, and later “provoked” them to get violent on 26 January.
The leaders “claiming to sympathise with the cause” of farmers “continuously kept provoking farmers”, it states.
Talking about the violence on 26 January, the FIR alleges that the protesters and their leaders had a “pre-planned” objective to not follow the designated routes for the tractor rally, and that the timing of commencement of their “so-called parade” was meant to disrupt the Republic Day parade.
Speaking to ThePrint, a senior police officer said events since 26 November — when farmers protesting against the farm laws first set off for Delhi — have been mentioned in the FIR to establish the “chronology that eventually led to the incident” on 26 January.
“In a case of criminal conspiracy, police have to investigate the chronology of events and what led to the incident, in this case, the violence. The tension had been simmering for long, mistrust was created and that is what will be investigated in this case and established with evidence,” the officer said.
‘Labelled farm laws as anti-farmer, spread canards’
According to the FIR, Parliament passed the three contentious laws with the “objective to provide farmers with multiple marketing channels and provide legal framework for farmers to enter into pre-arranged contracts regarding their agricultural produce. “Some people”, however, labelled the laws as “corporate-friendly and anti-farmer”, it says.
After the laws were passed, the FIR adds, some political parties joined the protests “on the pretext that the laws would hurt the farmer’s earnings” and “canards were spread that the farmers will lose their land to the corporates and the APMC-run mandis will cease to exist”.
The government through various forms “tried to dispel the misgiving but protests started which initially remained localised in Punjab”, it says.
‘The provocation and forced entry’
On 26 November, the FIR states, some of the protesting farmers from Punjab were stopped by Haryana Police from marching towards Delhi and violence was reported after they and their leaders broke through barricades and continued with their march towards the capital.
On 27 November, the protesters started traveling with their tractors and trolleys to the borders of Delhi and Haryana, but were stopped at Singhu, it says.
The FIR says that the protesters were at the time adamant to go to Ramlila Maidan for their protest, but were offered Burari as an alternative. The leaders of the protesting farmers, however, refused to go to Burari and stayed at Singhu, blocking roads for the public at large, it adds.
Thereafter, farmer organisations from UP and some other states also started their marches to Delhi and, other than Singhu, four more borders — Chilla, Tikri, Ghazipur and the Haryana-Rajasthan border — were blocked, following which, “several people claiming to sympathise with the cause of farmers continuously kept provoking farmers”, the FIR states.
11 rounds of talks with govt, SC intervention & violence
The FIR also dwells on the 11 rounds of negotiations that have taken place “between authorised groups of central government ministers” and the leaders of the farmers to arrive at a resolution to the impasse over the farm laws.
The Supreme Court also intervened in the matter and stayed the implementation of the laws, it says, adding that the central government proposed to stay their implementation for a year and a half. However, the negotiations broke, it adds.
The FIR says the farmer leaders named in the FIR, and some others like Yogendra Yadav, announced that they will hold a parade of farmers with tractors in the national capital to coincide with the Republic Day parade. They also “threatened to break the respective blockades set up by the police and carry out their parade”.
“Police cited the security concerns and after negotiations with the above farmer leaders, 4 routes of the proposed parade were agreed upon and an undertaking was also taken. However, in violation of the undertaking on the instigation of the leaders mentioned above, the tractor rally was started from the Singhu border from 8 am itself,” the FIR states.
‘Protesters robbed, injured cops’
According to the FIR, at about 8.30 am, the protesters broke through the blockades on the Singhu border and, simultaneously, other blockades in Delhi were also broken.
The FIR alleges that the protesters — “riding tractors, trollies and even horses”, armed with sticks, iron rods, “some of them also carrying swords” — breached barricades and injured policemen.
It also claims that many protesters robbed police personnel of firearms and started rioting, causing injuries with swords and lathis. They even ran their tractors over police officials with intent to kill, the FIR adds.
“The protesters were riding on tractors, trollies and even horses. Most of them were carrying sticks, iron rods and some of them were also carrying swords. They started destroying the barricades set up by police and were adamant to move towards the Outer Ring Road,” the FIR says.
“Announcements were made with loudhailers by the police officers requesting the protesters to move towards the agreed route, but they disregarded the requests and with common intention of moving towards Outer Ring Road, obstructing the police officials in the discharge of their official duties,” it adds.
“Water cannon was used to disperse the protesters, teargas shells were fired. The mob started throwing back the teargas shells towards the deployed police force. Gradually, the crowd of the protesters swelled and outnumber the force,” the FIR says.
“In the riot, the protesters robbed the official pistol 11176 with 10 rounds of ammunition along with a gas gun no 3510. They looted one gas gun no 2K8230 (sic),” it adds.
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