New Delhi: At least 86 police personnel were injured in the violence that broke out during the Republic Day tractor rally on Tuesday morning by the farmers protesting against the three contentious farm laws passed by the Centre in September, the Delhi police said
Eight buses and 17 private vehicles were vandalised, the police added.
The incident took place mostly in and around Mukarba Chowk, Gazipur, Tikri border, ITO, Seemapuri, Nangloi T-Point and the Red Fort. Barricades were broken at Tikri, Gazipur and Singhu borders.
The police said that they had conducted several rounds of meetings with the Sayunkt Kisan Morcha and gave an undertaking to take out a peaceful rally as per the proposed plans.
But violence started soon after the farmer organisations decided to march towards Delhi, way before the allotted time and deviated from the path that the authorities had permitted for the tractor rally. The farmers pushed towards Central Delhi, breaking barricades and facing water cannons.
The police said that at around 8.30 am, 6,000 to 7,000 tractors had assembled at the Singhu borders and insisted upon going to the Central Delhi instead of the agreed-upon route.
"Despite persuasion by Delhi Police, the farmers led by Nihangs on their horses fully equipped with deadly weapons like swords, kripans and fursas charged the police and broke the several layers of barricades, which were erected between Mukarba Chowk and Transport Nagar," a police statement read.
When they were stopped by police, violence broke out.
The farmers became "violent and broke barricades, damaged the iron grills and the dividers and even tried to run over the policemen, who were deployed at these barricades". The situation was controlled after reinforcements arrived.
The farmers then decided to move towards the iconic Red Fort, climbed the ramparts of the forecourt and hoisted a religious flag on a mast outside. Attempts were also made to hoist flags atop the domes of the fort, the police said.
The police, wielding batons, managed to remove them from inside the fort.
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha said anti-social elements had "infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement".
"The long struggle for more than 6 months now, and more than 60 days of protest at Delhi borders also seemed to have led to this situation," the farmers' group added.
In the evening, the farmers' group called off the tractor rally. In a statement, the SKM said that the "movement will continue peacefully" and further steps will be discussed and decided soon.
The police said that four FIR cases have been registered for the violation of lawful directions, rioting, damage to public property and assault on public servants with deadly weapons.
The police added that they are keeping close watch on the situation.