- Farmers have accused him for the violence during the tractor rally
- "Deep Sidhu is the government's man," a farmer leader alleged
- Farmers have suspended their plans to march to parliament on Budget Day
Here are the top 10 points in this big story:
A section of farm leaders have accused Punjabi actor and activist Deep Sidhu of instigating the clashes and planting a Sikh religious flag at the Red Fort. "If I'm being labeled a gaddar (traitor), then all farmer leaders are gaddars. If you claim lakhs of people were instigated by me, what kind of leaders are you? Will an RSS-BJP person put the Nishan Sahib flag on Red Fort? You are calling lakhs of farmers gaddars," Deep Sidhu said in Punjabi in a video on Facebook last night. He also accused the farm union leaders of "back-tracking".
The Delhi Police is investigating farmer leaders as part of their probe into the violence on Republic Day at a tractor rally organized by farmers protesting against the Centre's contentious farm laws. Notice has been sent to farmer leader Darshan Pal of Samyukt Kisan Morcha for alleged violation of the agreement with the police regarding the route and time of the rally. In the notice which he has to respond in three days, the police asked him why no legal action should be taken against him.
In its notice to Darshan Pal, the police also pointed out that he broke the pact that was made witht the police. As per the agreement, only 5,000 tractors were permitted for the rally, the police said. The police also said that the rally began earlier than the scheduled time of noon. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has reiterated the "conspiracy" angle and distanced itself from Tuesday's violence. "The government is trying to break the movement. I don't expect another round of talks with the government anytime soon," said Darshan Pal at the Singhu border on Wednesday.
The government has denounced the unprecedented violence. "Action should be taken against all of those who instigated others. India won't tolerate the manner in which the Tricolour was insulted at the Red Fort," said Union minister Prakash Javadekar. Accusing the Congress of instigating the farmers, he said, "The Congress wants to create a situation of unrest in the country"
The Congress said Union Home Minister Amit Shah was responsible for the violence and should be "sacked immediately". "A concerted conspiracy, aided and abetted by the Modi government, is unfolding to malign the entire farmers' movement and to push them out and bury the demand for repeal of the three anti-agriculture black laws under the din and noise of FIRs," senior party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters.
At a press conference this evening, Delhi police commissioner S N Srivastava said farmer unions did not follow the conditions set for the tractor rally that was supposed to be held from noon to 5 pm or follow the designated route. "We are using the facial recognition system and taking the help of CCTV and video footage to identify the accused. Strict action will be taken against those identified. No culprit will be spared," he said.
Nineteen people have been arrested in connection with the violence in which 394 police personnel have been injured, the Delhi Police said. Fifty people have been detained and are being questioned. Action has been taken against 300-odd Twitter accounts since Tuesday. The Delhi Police said they have acted promptly on "intelligence inputs".
The iconic Red Fort, built by the Mughals, will be shut till January 31, the Archaeological Survey of India has said. There have been reports of damages to some structures inside the fort after hundreds of protesters entered on Tuesday. Videos from the spot showed them walking on the ramparts, from where Prime Ministers address the nation on Independence Day. They also hoisted a Sikh religious flag, or Nishan Sahib", on an empty mast
The postmortem report of a farmer who died in Delhi shows he was not shot, as claimed by his family, the Uttar Pradesh Police said Wednesday. "He succumbed to the injuries he received after his tractor turned turtle," Avinash Chandra, a senior police officer of Bareilly region was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. The farmer had died yesterday near Delhi's ITO, where violence broke out. CCTV footage of his tractor overturning was widely circulated.
Farmers fear the new laws will deprive them of guaranteed minimum earnings and leave them open to exploitation by big business. Eleven rounds of talks have been held between the farmers and the government, but there been no breakthrough. The farmers have turned down the Centre's last offer to put the laws on hold for 18 months while a special committee conducts negotiations.