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Protesting farmer dies in ‘accident’, body draped in tricolor

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: As a protesting farmer died after his tractor overturned at Central Delhi’s ITO on Tuesday, the fellow protestors draped his body in the tricolour and refused to send it for post-mortem, as per police. The farmers also lashed out at the media persons covering the incident.

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The farmer had died as his tractor overturned at ITO where hundreds of protestors have gathered from the Ghazipur border after taking a detour of the pre-agreed route for the tractor march, a senior police officer said.

As per Police officials, the man was driving the tractor and came under the vehicle as it overturned. Paying tribute to the deceased fellow other protestors draped his body in the tricolour and kept it at the ITO crossing, not allowing the police to send it for post-mortem.

The intended “peaceful” march turned violent after farmers’ restraint ended and they started marching towards Central Delhi from the boarders before the permitted time of the tractor rally defying routes and crushing barricades. The tractor rally was supposedly to start from 3 spots outside the Delhi borders and was given 10 am to take out the procession after the traditional Republic Day parade by the armed forces at Rajpath which ended around 11.30 am, one and a half hours after agreed upon time for the rally.

As per reports, the farmers started to pour in at the borders at around 8 am even before the parade begin and thousands entered the national capital on foot. Trending visuals showed farmers breaching barriers at the Singhu border near Haryana, which is the epicenter of protests against the three contentious farm laws that began on November 26.

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The violent protest showed a police bus hijacked by farmers in Delhi’s ITO, while another clip from Akshardham showed policemen on an overbridge firing tear gas shells on the protesters standing on the road looking for a cover. Protesters were also seen vandalising a bus even though their leaders repeatedly insisted that the protests will be “peaceful”. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today shut down the entry and exit gates at several metro stations.

According to media reports, three routes were cleared for the farmers to hold the parade – 63-km route near Singhu Border, 62.5 km-long route from Tikri border, a 68-km long route from Ghazipur border that divides Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. However, they reached central Delhi’s ITO, 20 km from the planned route and then marched towards Red fort. The agitating farmers also stomped into Red Fort and hoisted their sacred flag on the tomb of this iconic fort.

A huge rampage was witnessed at ITO, where hundreds of protesters could be seen hurling sticks at police personnel and ramming their tractors into the buses parked by police.

To note, till now eleven rounds of talks have been held between the farmers and the Centre which have been inconclusive so far. The government, however, has offered to put the laws on hold for 18 months, which was turned down by the farmers, demanding a complete repeal of the ‘black law’ as what they call it. Meanwhile, a special committee, appointed by Supreme Court is conducting negotiations for the both the sides.

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