On Republic Day tomorrow, the protesting farmers in Delhi are making their final preparations for the tractor rally parallel to the government’s parade. The farmers’ union has decided to organise it in such a way that their rally circle the whole of Delhi — over 100 km. The union has gathered almost one lakh participants and tractors for the purpose.
The rally is aimed at emphasising their protest against the three contentious farm laws, and it would begin soon after the Republic Day rally at Rajpath. The organisers have informed that their event would conclude by six in the evening. The tractors will start from Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur borders, enter the capital, and then return to the protest.
Delhi police will give protection to the rally, and enforce strict security measures in and around the area as various intelligence agencies doubt foreign interference in the events. The farmers will be donning a green jacket, and place the tricolour flag as well as those of their organisations on their tractors. The rally will also use still images that call attention to the nuances of farming life. These are not ordinary tractors either, as they are modified vehicles.
The farming leaders have promised on the maintenance of law and order while their tractor rally happens. To avoid any one tractor from getting into the heart of the capital, the protest leaders will go first and the rest will follow behind. No change of route will be entertained among the ranks. They have informed the participants that no more than five people should be on a participant, weapons, use of intoxicating substances are prohibited, do not make misleading slogans, and display only banners relating to the protest. They also told their participants to listen to Delhi police instructions, as they are also part of the event.
Earlier, the Delhi police had filed a petition regarding the farmers’ tractor march to the capital on Republic Day, but the Supreme Court informed them that it was a law and order issue. Adding to it, the SC told Delhi police that they had the “liberty to invoke all powers under the law” to handle the situation as they are not the “first authority” in the matter.
The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde made the observation, noting that the matter of “who should be allowed, who shouldn’t be allowed, and the number of people who can be allowed” are all issues concerning law and order and to be dealt by the police. The plea filed by the police claimed that according to various agencies the tractor march by the farmers is “slated to disturb and disrupt” the Republic Day parade, create a law and order situation, and cause embarrassment to the nation.
Addressing the need for a Court order despite it being a law and order situation, the Attorney General said that they are facing an unprecedented situation and an order could strengthen their hands. However, the CJI asked, “Does the Union of India want the Court to say that you have powers under the law?” Clarifying further doubts, the CJI told the AG that their intervention has been misunderstood since the SC was not involved in the overall matter but regarding the protests aspect.
Moreover, on Friday, the agitating farmers at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border claimed that they have captured a man who says he was part of a 10-member gang trained by a police official to stir up violence during the proposed tractor rally on January 26 and to kill farmer leaders ahead of that. The farmers have handed over the man to the Haryana police and the latter had identified the accused as Yogesh, a resident of Sonipat. He had photographs of four farmer leaders.