NEW DELHI: Seven policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police, were injured as protesting farmers turned violent while trying to enter the city from Uttar Pradesh in defiance of prohibitory orders, Delhi Police claimed on Tuesday.
As it drew flak for what the parties termed as "brutal" action against the protesters, the police said they used only "minimum required force" to control the situation.
Police said a section of protesters, who were participating in the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) march, suddenly turned violent as the cops tried to persuade them not to break the barricades.
Police said they used 20 tear gas shells and water cannons to manage the crowd, adding it was "minimum required force".
As many as 3,000 police personnel were deployed to ensure that the farmers were not able to enter Delhi.
Since morning, the farmers gathered at Ghazipur border between Delhi and Ghaziabad in several thousands.
Senior officers including Special Commissioners of Police(Law and Order), joint commissioners of ranges and district deputy commissioners of police were personally supervising the arrangements, and maintained constant liaison with their UP counterparts, the Delhi Police said.
Announcements were regularly made on public address system about promulgation of prohibitory orders and requests were specifically made not to attempt entry into Delhi forcibly on tractor-trolleys since there was no permission for the same, they said.
"The protesters were also assured through their leaders that their demands are being projected at appropriate levels, and their movement will be duly facilitated in an orderly fashion without tractor- trolleys," the police said, adding it had specially deployed buses for ferrying the farmers to the city.
Talks were also going on in this regard with the leaders of various factions of the protesters, they said.
Despite requests that the protesters wait for the outcome of the talks between their leaders and the government, a section of the crowd suddenly turned violent and tried to break the barricades with tractor-trolleys and were also carrying lathis, they added.
"Tractor-trolleys were used with violent force by this aggressive section to break down three layers of strong barricading.
Some protestors also resorted to stone pelting and wielded lathis causing injuries to police personnel deployed on duty," the police alleged.
"Under these circumstances, only the minimum required force was used to contain these aggressive and violent protestors.
"However, after using water cannon and tear gas shells on a limited scale, the situation was brought under control, and thereafter use of any force was discontinued forthwith, resorting again to persuasive tactics," they added.
Seven police personnel, including an assistant commissioner of police, were injured during this process.
The ACP suffered a shoulder dislocation after he was roughed up by some of the protesters, the police said.
No other serious injury was reported to Delhi Police, they said.
The situation was brought under control and was closely monitored thereafter so as to facilitate talks between leaders of the farmers union and the government.
The city police had on Monday imposed prohibitory orders in east and northeast Delhi, anticipating law and order problems as thousands of BKU headed for Delhi.
The main demands of the agitating farmers include implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, removing ban on the use of tractors which are more than 10 years old, clearing out pending payments of sugarcane purchase, increased price of sugar supplied and minimum support prices.