"Unfortunate": Tourism Minister Says Farmers Disrespected Red Fort

The Red Fort is a symbol of the sanctity of our democracy. Protesters should have stayed away, says Prahlad Singh Patel.

'Unfortunate': Tourism Minister Says Farmers Disrespected Red Fort

Desecration of Red Fort hurtful, said Prahlad Singh Patel.

New Delhi:

The Government of India today condemned what it called the desecration of the Red Fort by agitating farmers who entered the Mughal monument after their planned tractor rally veered off the assigned path in the national capital. A little after the annual Republic Day Parade, a large group of protesters occupied the ramparts of the medieval building and hoisted their insignia on the flag post in front of it.

The chaotic scenes witnessed in Delhi today evoked a sharp response from the Centre.

"The Red Fort is a symbol of the sanctity of our democracy. The protester ought to have stayed away from the Red Fort. I condemn the desecration of its sanctity. It was hurtful and and unfortunate," Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel tweeted a short while after the incident today. 

He was one of the earliest member of the government to have reacted to the stunning development.

The ramparts of the Red Fort is where the Indian Prime Minister stands while addressing the nation on every Independene Day after hoisting the Tricolour.  

Earlier, thousands of farmers knocked down barricades at Delhi's borders, clashed with the police and entered the heart of the national capital on Republic Day as they took out a tractor rally against the government's new agricultural laws. Amid the chaos, protesters were tear-gassed and baton-charged. The disarray was caused after the protesters - allowed to hold the "Kisaan Parade" between 12 and 5 PM - began the march much before time and deviated from the agreed routes.

By afternoon, a large number of them had reached the Red Fort. They were seen within the ramparts of the monument, trying to put up their yellow flags at the spot where Prime Ministers hoists the national flag every August 15. Within an hour, however, the crowd trickled out.