Farmer leaders cry conspiracy as protests turn violent

Farmer leaders cry conspiracy as protests turn violent

Distressed by the violence during the Kisan Republic Day Parade, the SKM called off the event and appealed to the participants to return to their respective protest sites

After day-long chaos in the national capital, the farmers’ unions on Tuesday called off the Kisan Ganatantra Parade and claimed anti-social elements had infiltrated the agitation as a conspiracy to discredit the agitation.

“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,” Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of over 41 farmers’ organisations, said in a statement here.

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Distressed by the violence during the Kisan Republic Day Parade, the SKM called off the event and appealed to the participants to return to their respective protest sites.

“There is no question of calling off the agitation,” Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha and a member of the SKM, told DH.

He admitted that the violence during the tractor rally in the capital was a setback to the agitation and could provide a handle to the government to break it.

“We will continue our agitation peacefully and further steps will be discussed and decided soon,” Mollah said that the farmer unions had anticipated that some conspiracy was afoot to discredit the union.

He said the farmers' unions would analyse the situation over the next couple of days and uncover the conspiracy.

“This will destroy the movement. We will discuss how this happened, who did it,” Mollah said, adding that the farmers’ unions will have to continue the movement peacefully and with utmost care.

Farmer leaders were nowhere to be seen as the protesters clashed with the police for hours together.

Also Read | Red Fort 'siege' by protesting farmers creates unease among Opposition parties 

Yogendra Yadav, President of Swaraj India, issued a video appeal at 2:30 p.m. from Rajasthan-Haryana border at Shahjahanpur, appealing for peace and urging farmers to stick to the pre-decided routes of the parade.

The statement came when farmers had already broken barricades and clashed with the police at several places across the national capital.