"Regrettable... Centre Allowed Situation To Deteriorate": AAP On Delhi Clashes

The AAP, which has supported the farmers' peaceful - until now - protest against the laws, also accused "external elements" of causing the violence

'Regrettable... Centre Allowed Situation To Deteriorate': AAP On Delhi Clashes

Protesting farmers stormed the Red Fort complex and raised Sikh religious flags

New Delhi:

Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party has said it "strongly condemns" the violence that broke out in parts of the national capital on Tuesday - when sections of farmers protesting the centre's agriculture laws forced their way into the city and clashed with police, resulting in the death of one person.

The AAP, which has supported the farmers' peaceful - until now - protest against the laws, also accused "external elements" of causing the violence, and, in a swipe at the BJP, criticised the centre - under whose jurisdiction Delhi Police operates - for "allowing the situation to deteriorate".

"We strongly condemn the violence seen in today's protest. It is regrettable that the central government allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent. The movement has been peaceful for the last two months," the AAP statement said.

"Farmer leaders have said that those who indulged in violence today were not part of the movement and were external elements. Whoever they were, the violence has certainly weakened the movement which was going on so peacefully and in a disciplined manner," the party added.

Yesterday police sources said Pak-based ISI and "rogue elements linked to Khalistani outfits" could hijack and disrupt the rally. Sources said "a huge conspiracy has been hatched".

Earlier today, as the nation celebrated Republic Day and Delhi's iconic Rajpath was set to host the annual parade, hundreds of farmers gathered at three border points - Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur.

They had been given permission to hold their tractor rally along designated routes and after the parade at Rajpath was over. However, by 8 am groups of farmers drove their tractors through police barricades at border points, stormed into the capital and broke from designated routes.

Protesters and police clashed at the ITO junction and inside the iconic Red Fort complex, where flags of Sikh religious significance were raised.

The farmers blamed "anti-social elements" for the violence and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a federation of 40 farmer unions, has dissociated itself from the chaos and appealed for calm.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh - from whose state come thousands of the farmers who have spent the last 60-odd days camped around the national capital - appealed to all "genuine farmers" to vacate Delhi and return to the borders.

Across parts of the city internet and Metro services in parts of the city were shut down.

Home Minister Amit Shah met senior police and government officials in the evening to review the situation and decide if further paramilitary presence was needed to restore order.