NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday defended its decision to install spikes at farmer protest sites on the Delhi-UP border, saying it is to prevent a repeat of the Republic Day violence.
“The barricades at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border were strengthened to prevent any possible repeat of the conduct displayed on January 26,” Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said in the Rajya Sabha.
The minister said no road was dug up at the Delhi border in view of farmers’ agitation.
Thousands of protesters had clashed with police near Delhi’s ITO during the tractor parade called by various farmer unions on January 26, with a section storming the Red Fort and clashing with security. Over 300 police personnel were injured during the clashes.
The minister said the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a forum representing 40 farmer unions, broke barricades on Republic Day in violation of the permission granted for taking out a tractor parade on a mutually accepted route.
“They proceeded towards Central Delhi despite being stopped inside the city and broke those barricades as well,” Reddy said.
Delhi Police have registered as many as 38 cases in connection with the violence. The minister said the government has taken adequate steps to alleviate the hardships caused to the commuting public due to the activities of the protestors.
The minister's written reply in the Rajya Sabha came in response to a question from AAP member Narain Dass Gupta on whether nails were fixed on the road at the farmers' protest site near the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
Reddy said the Delhi Police has informed that on January 26, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha broke the barricades, in violation of permission granted for taking out Kisan tractor parade on a mutually accepted route and it proceeded towards central Delhi despite being stopped at other barricades inside the city and broke those barricades as well.
"In view of this experience, and the manner in which the protesting farmers used tractors as weapons for breaking the barricades and injuring policemen, the barricades at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border were strengthened to prevent any possible repeat of the conduct displayed on January 26," he said.
When the farmers' unions called a tractor parade on January 26, large scale violence was reported in different parts of the national capital.
A group of protesters also went to Red Fort, indulged in vandalism at the monument and hoisted a Sikh religious flag there.
Replying to another question, the minister said the Delhi Police has informed that no road has been dug up at Delhi borders in view of the farmers' agitation.
Reddy also said that the Delhi Police has registered 38 cases against people, including foreigners, following the January 26 violence.
"The Delhi Police has informed that 38 cases have been registered against the persons, including foreigners, who violated various legal provisions, including cyber crime, recently in Delhi, while protesting in the name of farm laws," he said.
The minister said in order to alleviate the hardships caused to the commuting public due to the activities of the protesters, adequate deployment of police personnel is made for providing alternative routes to the general public, ensuring law and order and for ensuring smooth movement of traffic at borders.
(With PTI Inputs)