Security personnel firing tear gas shells at protesters during the tractor rally on Republic Day | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that protesting farmers "aggressively" resorted to rioting, damage to property and used "criminal force" against public servants during their tractor 'parade' here on January 26 leaving the Delhi police with no option but to use tear gas, water cannons and mild force to control the crowd.
The Lok Sabha was also informed that 39 cases were registered between September and December 2020 against farmers protesting against the three contentious agri laws at Delhi's borders.
In a written reply, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also said the protesting farmers were not following social distancing and gathered in large numbers without face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On police using tear gas and resorting to baton charge against the protesting farmers, the minister said it has been reported that at Delhi borders, large convoys of agitating farmers in tractor trolleys tried to furiously force their way and go past police barricades to enter Delhi in connection with their tractor 'parade' on Republic Day on January 26.
"They aggressively resorted to rioting, damage to government property and used criminal force to deter public servants from the discharge of their duty, thereby inflicting injuries to the on-duty police personnel.
"Moreover, social distancing was not followed by the farmers and protestors and they gathered in large numbers without face masks amid COVID-19 pandemic. The farmers' actions left the Delhi Police with no option but to use tear gas, water cannons and mild force to control the crowd," Reddy said.
The minister said that insofar the National Capital Territory(NCT) of Delhi is concerned, the Delhi Police has informed that 39 cases have been registered against the farmers protesting the recently passed farm laws between September and December, 2020 at Delhi borders.
Reddy's reply indicated that these 39 cases were excluding those registered after the farmers' tractor 'parade' violence. A total of 44 FIRs have been registered so far by the Delhi police in connection with the violence.
He said the Delhi Police has also informed that one suicide case has been reported to it during the protest against the farm laws.