Police resorted to tear gas and baton charge to disperse the clash between the farmers and the group of men who claimed to be locals.
On Friday, a group of over 150 men reached the protest site at the Singhu border to Delhi and violently clashed with farmers protesting against the government’s new farm bills. The group of men claimed that they are local residents and that the farmers agitation had affected their livelihood. Both the sides started pelting stones at each other and the police resorted to tear gas and baton charge to disperse the clash between the farmers and the group of men.
The group who claimed to be local residents raised slogans and asked the farm protestors to vacate the Singhu border, which is one of the main protest sites in Delhi. They also said that they would not tolerate any insult to the national flag in a reference to the violence during the Republic Day tractor parade. Police stated that the group of men were from nearby villages of Singhu, Narela, Bawana, Alipur, and Kundli.
The group approached the site after breaching the police barricades and started arguing with farmers, demanding for the farm protest to end and the road cleared. The argument spiraled into violence and the group attacked the shelters and tents at the protest site and both farmers and the group started stone-pelting. Police then resorted to teargas shells and baton charge.
Delhi Police Station House Officer (SHO) (Alipur) Pradeep Paliwal was badly wounded in the violence after a man attacked him with a sword. According to media reports, the police detained the man who attacked the SHO.
Police sources told the Indian newspaper The Times of India that the group of men were residents of the area and were free to move around and thus weren’t stopped as they entered. The Indian newspaper The Indian Express reported that a sub-inspector at the site said, “The [local] protesters entered peacefully without drawing much attention, from the side that is not barricaded. Once they reached the barricades, we tried to stop them. But they went around the barricades and got through.”
In a report in the Indian news portal The Print, Karnal Singh, a farmer injured in the clash said, “They threw stones at us first and started sloganeering against us, calling us anti-nationals and threatening us. Today we were patient, tomorrow we won’t be.”