What was supposed to be a strictly monitored and disciplined rally of tractors today turned into a virtual free-for-all as protesting farmers entered the heart of Delhi, veering several kilometres off the agreed route. Neither the police nor the farmer leaders looked in control of the situation as key locations of the national capital, from ITO to the Red Fort, turned into a sea of tractors and other vehicles. Some of them even began to drive in a haphazard manner amid the milling ground, seemingly to threaten the assembled policemen.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident at ITO.
At some places, the police tried to form human chains to rein in the formations of those rallying, but to little effect.
In the large crowd of protesters gathered in front of the Red Fort ramparts, dozens of those who had been part of the rally could be seen dancing euphorically and raising slogans while scores of others swayed the Tricolour and other flags.
While a majority of the vehicles were tractors, a large number of other vehicles like jeeps and sedans, too, were running amok in the national capital.
Officials said the police personnel are seeking permission to fire at the tyres of the vehicles to slow them down and control the crowd, but permission was denied by higher authorities.
Earlier, visuals showed farmers breaching barriers at the Singhu border near Haryana, the epicentre of protests against the farm laws that began late November. A stunning video from Akshardham showed policemen firing tear gas shells from an overbridge as protesters on road looked for cover. At Mukarba chowk, protesters reportedly hurled stones at cops. In Nangloi area, the Riot Control Police was on standby.