Even as tension soared in Delhi amid the farmer protest that took a turn for the worst in the heart of the city, heartwarming scenes were witnessed at the Chilla border point between the national capital and Uttar Pradesh where the agitating crowd exchanged roses with state police personnel.
Earlier in the day, a planned tractor rally went completely out of control in New Delhi, making for some shocking scenes within the city. One person died amid clashes between the police and protesting farmers on Republic Day as the rally took a chaotic turn. Veering from the designated route, the farmers made for the Red Fort, where they hoisted a religious flag, entered the forecourt, and climbed the ramparts. The police managed to bring the situation under control later but not before the protsters took over Ramlila Maidan, the original site of agitation.
The violence began in the morning itself as farmers broke barricades and stormed into Delhi ahead of time. They have blamed "anti-social elements" for the incidents of the day.
Yet, the Chilla proceedings in the afternoon seemed a world away: Noida Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Ranvijay Singh was presented with roses by Yogesh Pratap Singh, the UP President of Bharat Kisan Union (Bhanu). He even ate the meals prepared by the protesters.
The happened after the official committed to not stopping BKU (Bhanu) members and supporters from coming to the protest site anymore.
For the past two months, the state police had disallowed people from reaching Chilla border. Tractors were stopped at Meerut and Agra. This led the lower-than-expected participation by farmers from UP in today's events.
With the Noida Additional DCP now giving his verbal commitment, the farmers shared smiles and roses with him.
It is important to note that the Chilla border has not been entirely smooth all this while.
Some farmers who started off from the Chilla border, too, had had deviated from the designated route. After going off the track by around 2 kilometres, however, they were turned back by the police. This deviation was caused more by confusion over the actual route.
The Chilla border has been partially blocked since December and after returning from the rally some farmers decided to fully block it today. However, the BKU (Bhanu) leaders ensured things didn't get out of hand.