The Delhi Police today appealed to the farmers to return to their protest site outside the borders by a designated route, pointing out that the break from the route in the morning has led to the widespread chaos and violence across the city. The rally, the police said, has led to loss of property and many police personnel were injured in the violence. The police have filed four cases in connection with the vandalism in East Delhi during the rally. Eight buses and 17 private vehicles were vandalised, the police said.
"The time and the routes for the tractor rally were finalised after several rounds of meetings," Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"But farmers drove tractors off the routes and before the fixed time, leading to vandalism in which many police personnel were injured. Public properties have also been damaged," he said.
While giving permission for the rally, the Delhi Police had made it clear that it has to stick to a designated route and time.
The rally, the police said, could enter Delhi only after the traditional Republic Day parade was over -- the usual time is around 11.30 am.
The police had also chalked out specific routes -- 60-odd km stretches near the border at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, which the rally was to follow. The decision was taken after several rounds of meetings with farmers' representatives who had agreed.
But on the eve of the rally, one of the participants, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee had refused to follow the route.
Today, the designated timing was also violated, with thousands of farmers breaking through the barricades at 8 am and pushing on with the rally.
The farmers have blamed anti-social elements for the daylong chaos.
In a statement, the farmers' body Samyukta Kisan Morcha said: "Anti-social elements had infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength, and that any violation would hurt the movement. The long struggle for more than 6 months now, and more than 60 days of protest at Delhi borders also seemed to have led to this situation."
"I appeal to the protesting farmers not to indulge in violence, maintain peace and return through the designated routes," the Delhi Police chief said this evening.