Tension prevailed at Singhu border, one of the main sites of farmers' protest, on Friday as police used tear gas and resorted to baton charge after protesters and a large number of men claiming to be local residents clashed and hurled stones at each other.
Pradeep Paliwal, a Delhi Police Station House Officer (SHO), was injured when a man attacked him with a sword and the latter was detained after a scuffle.
Trouble was brewing at the border with a group of people claiming to be locals entering the protest site and hurled stones at the protesters, who also indulged in stone-pelting.
TV footage showed some masked men, among the people who came from outside, also indulging in violence. The group wanted the protesters to vacate the border and accused them of insulting the national flag during their tractor rally on Republic Day.
Protesting farmers alleged that police allowed the group to come near the protest site. The group was armed with sticks and raised slogans against them.
The protesters came out in large numbers to counter the group while farmers union volunteers prevented them, which helped the situation from turning ugly. One of the protesters claimed that they were not locals and were throwing stones and petrol bombs at them besides trying to burn down trolleys.
Protesters from the Singhu border had clashed with police during the tractor rally and many of them had reached Red Fort. Some protesters even hoisted religious and farmers union's flags at the ramparts.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Water Minister Satyendar Jain claimed that the Delhi Police prevented him and Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman and senior AAP leader Raghav Chadha from supplying drinking water to farmers protesting at the Singhu border. They claimed that they were not allowed to take the tankers to the protesters.
There was heavy deployment of police personnel at Tikri border, too.
Meanwhile, several farmers from parts of Haryana decided to head towards Delhi's borders to join the agitation. A number of farmers from Jind, Rohtak, Kaithal, Hisar, Bhiwani and Sonipat will be going towards various protest sites at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, PTI reported quoting farmer leaders from Haryana.
At the Ghazipur border, top RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary met farmers' leader Rakesh Tikait and other protesters. A Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar decided that farmers in the area will move to Ghazipur border, a day after BKU leader Tikait broke down and tension gripped the protest side amid fears that the protesters would be forcibly removed by the local administration.
Delhi Police also urged people to share any evidence or information about the Republic Day violence in the national capital.
"All members of the public, including media persons, who are witnesses to the incidents or have any information about the incident or have captured any activity on their mobile phones or camera, are hereby requested to come forward and give their statements/footage/picture in their possession at room number 215, second floor, Old Delhi Police Headquarters, ITO during office hours, on any working day or contact on 8750871237 or 011-23490094 or send e-mail on email@example.com," the appeal stated.