NEW DELHI: Protesting farmers ended their march at Kisan Ghat in the national capital early Wednesday after the police which had stopped them on the city border allowed their entry, following a day-long agitation which saw the security forces using water cannons and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.
The Delhi Police removed the barricades around 12.30 am to allow the farmers, who were stopped Tuesday at UP Gate on the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border during the 'Kisan Kranti Yatra', a senior police official said.
Within hours, thousands of farmers gathered at Kisan Ghat, the memorial of renowned farmer leader and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
The memorial is located adjacent to Raj Ghat between the banks of Yamuna river and Mahatma Gandhi Road.
The farmers offered tributes at the memorial.
They entered the national capital riding their tractors and trolleys and proceeded towards Kisan Ghat where heavy police deployment had been made, the official said.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Pawan Khatana said the police opened the barricades around 12.30 am.
"We reached the Kisan Ghat in the next couple of hours.
By 5 am, the farmers had started the return journey to their homes in Rajasthan, Haryana, UP and Madhya Pradesh," Khatana, the BKU's Uttar Pradesh unit spokesperson, told PTI.
Although all the protesting farmers left Delhi, several of them, including BKU chief Naresh Sigh Tikait, are staying put near the UP-Delhi border -- the spot for Tuesday's clash with security men.
Khatana said some of the farmers were still at UP Gate, the intersection of Madan Mohan Malviya Road in Ghaziabad with the Delhi-Meerut highway, repairing their tractors.
"Our Yatra was supposed to start from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar and culminate at Kisan Ghat in Delhi.
The farmers reached there and after that they left.
"Our main objective was to get our issues highlighted, which has happened.
Now it is for the government to decide what it wants to do.
The farmers have done their work.
If they agree to our demands, well and good.
Otherwise, during elections, they (politicians) will have to approach us (for votes) and not the other way round," he said.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said, "The government yesterday agreed to some of our demands.
That is okay. But they have not agreed to the main demands.
So we will decide on the future course of action later."
He said the government has agreed to file a review petition on the NGT order banning the use of over-a-decade-old vehicles, including tractors, in the national capital region.
"But they have not agreed on the main demands which are the implementation of recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee report and to provide unconditional loan waiver to farmers," he said.
"We had demanded waiver on all loans, including Kisan Credit Card, and power bills," Tikait, son of late iconic farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, said.
Almost six hours after the BKU ended its protest, its splinter group protested at the Delhi-Noida border, raising a host of demands like loan waiver and pension.
They later agitated at the Jantar Mantar in the heart of the national capital Wednesday afternoon.
A senior Delhi Police officer said around 200 farmers were protesting at the Jantar Mantar.
The farmers under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), headquartred in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, reached Delhi in the afternoon after protesting near the Noida entry point on the road to Mayur Vihar.
"We are protesting the anti-farmer policies of the central government," Ajab Singh Kasana, national vice president of BKU (Bhanu), said, adding scores of farmers from UP have joined the stir.
He said the BKU (Bhanu), led by Bhanu Pratap Singh, could not join the BKU-led protest Tuesday, but had supported their fight for the farmers cause.
Meanwhile, Rakesh Singh Tikait of the BKU said the Kisan Kranti Yatra was "successful and completed today when farmers reached Kisan Ghat in Delhi".
"I am not aware about which group of farmers is now in Delhi because our farmers had left Delhi for their homes early this morning.
By this evening, we can get a clear picture of what is happening," Tikait, who was also on his way home, told PTI over phone.
Thousands of farmers had on Tuesday marched towards Delhi over demands ranging from farm loan waiver to cut in fuel prices, pending sugarcane dues and allowing plying of old tractors, thus blocking traffic movement on arterial roads leading to the national capital.
National highways leading to Delhi were swamped with farmers who came in from places as far as Gonda, Basti and Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh as well as the sugarcane belt of western Uttar Pradesh.
The police picketed the border with Uttar Pradesh, imposing prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people and holding of any public meeting, usage of any amplifier, loudspeaker, and similar instruments.
The Kisan Kranti Yatra which began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23 was joined by farmers from various parts of Uttar Pradesh.
They carried banners of Bharatiya Kisan Union which gave the protest call to press for a series of demands.
Their list of demands include unconditional loan waiver for farmers, clearing of dues by sugar mills, higher prices for crops, free electricity for farms and a cut in diesel prices.