‘Protesters went on a rampage in attempt to enter city centre’

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A major clash broke out between police and protesters after a large group of farmers in tractors reached ITO Chowk and tried to move towards Lutyens’ Delhi on Tuesday.

At 12.03 p.m., this reporter was crossing ITO Chowk to reach the Singhu border when a large group of protesters arrived under the ITO flyover on Ring Road. One group had come from Ghazipur border via Akshardham and another from the Singhu border via Kashmere Gate.

Also read | How the farmers’ protest lost its way

The protesters broke past the police barriers and snatched the keys of a police bus that was parked to stop them from moving further towards central Delhi. The farmers moved the bus to allow tractors to make their way towards Tilak Bridge.

On the way, some protesters damaged police barriers near the Old Delhi police headquarters.

Around seven tractors rammed a DTC bus parked at the ITO crossing and managed to push it away.

Also read | Farm union leaders play blame game, vow to continue protest

Around 1 p.m., police fired tear gas shells to stop farmers from marching towards India Gate. The police action prompted violence from some farmers. Several police personnel as well as protesters suffered injuries during stone pelting and subsequent lathi-charge.

The police, however, managed to push the protesters back to the ITO crossing.

 

Public property

A large group of youngsters also went on a rampage, damaging police vehicles, iron railings, and other public property at ITO Chowk. They also tried to move a DTC bus placed under Tilak Bridge, but failed to do so after a lathi-charge.

A small group of protesters drove their tractors recklessly at the ITO crossing to clear a path through the police line. The police, however, managed to puncture the tyres of several tractors. Subsequently, many protesters moved towards the Red Fort.

Around 1.30 p.m. a protester died after his tractor allegedly overturned at Minto Road, where the Delhi police had placed barricades to stop the protesters. The farmers, however, alleged that the man died in police firing. Some protesters also misbehaved with media persons and snatched their mobile phones and cameras.

A police officer said they had clear instructions not to open fire. Rapid Action Force arrived at 1.45 p.m. to control the situation.

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