The Punjab government has announced financial help for 83 people arrested in Delhi after violence broke out during a farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day this January. The move is likely to spark a controversy and set up Punjab's Congress government and the centre for a new battle.
Farmers especially from Punjab and Haryana have been camping around Delhi for a year in protest against three new farm laws that they say will give control in private hands. The centre has denied this allegation and even agreed to amend the laws. But the farmers want nothing short of withdrawing the laws.
On January 26 this year, a tractor rally by farmers was allowed on certain routes after talks between the Delhi Police and farmer leaders. However, the situation soon fell into chaos after groups reached the Red Fort and overran the police. The police have said the protesters did not follow the prearranged route and broke barricades to enter Delhi. They also entered the Red Fort and unfurled flags from its ramparts.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in a tweet today confirmed his government would pay compensation to the people who were arrested by Delhi Police.
"Reiterating my government's stand to support the ongoing farmers' protest against three black farm laws, we have decided to give Rs 2 lakh compensation to 83 people arrested by Delhi Police for carrying out a tractor rally in the national capital on January 26, 2021," the Chief Minister tweeted.
Reiterating My Govt's stand to support the ongoing #FarmersProtest against three black farm laws, We have decided to give Rs 2 lakh compensation to 83 people arrested by Delhi Police for carrying out a tractor rally in the national capital on 26th January, 2021.— Charanjit S Channi (@CHARANJITCHANNI) November 12, 2021
That day the national capital saw unprecedented scenes of chaos and violence as groups of farmers clashed with police and security forces. In visuals, around a dozen police and paramilitary personnel were seen forced to scramble and jump over a 15-foot wall at the Red Fort complex to escape a mob of lathi-wielding attackers.
The Punjab government has been backing the farmers. The state feels the three laws are not useful for their farmers, and has went ahead with resolutions in the state assembly, which may be made into a state law that would negate the effects of the central laws.
Punjab alleges that agricultural produce marketing committees or mandis will become private mandis and lead to financial loss to the state government, which would in turn harm rural development. The centre has, however, said the new laws are good for farmers since they cut out middlemen.