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  4. Violence at Red Fort on Republic Day evoked response similar to Capitol Hill raid: MEA

Violence at Red Fort on Republic Day evoked response similar to Capitol Hill raid: MEA

Thousands of farmers had clashed with the police during the tractor parade called by farmer unions on January. Protesters deviated from the designated route for the proposed tractor parade and barged into the Red Fort. They also attacked cops, vandalised police vehicles and the ticket counter at the Red Fort.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: February 05, 2021 10:40 IST
red fort violence, capitol hill
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

Farmers hoist flags at the Red Fort during the tractor rally amid the 72nd Republic Day celebrations

Violence at Red Fort in Delhi during farmers' tractor rally evoked a response similar to the Capitol Hill incident on January 6, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. "India and US are both vibrant democracies with shared values. Incidents of violence and vandalism at historic Red Fort on Jan 26 evoked similar sentiments and reactions in India as did the Capitol Hill incident on Jan 6 and are addressed as per local laws," MEA spokesperson Anurag Shrivastava said. He pointed out that protesters undermined the country's law and order and the Tricolour.

Earlier on Thursday, a spokesperson of the US State Department had said that the Joe Biden administration recognises "that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same. We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue". The spokesperson also said that "the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater private sector investment".

READ MORE: Red Fort rampage: Man behind raising of 'Nishan Sahib' arrested

The ministry in a statement issued on Wednesday had explained that the Parliament of India, after full debate and discussion, had passed the reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector. "These reforms give expanded market access and provide greater flexibility to the farmers. They also pave the way for economically and ecologically sustainable farming," it said.

The government also said that a very small section of farmers in parts of India have some reservations about these reforms. "Respecting the sentiments of the protesters, the government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Union ministers have been part of the negotiations, and 11 rounds of talks have already been held. The government has even offered to keep the laws on hold, an offer iterated by no less than the Prime Minister of India," it said.

"Yet, it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26, India's Republic Day. A cherished national commemoration, the anniversary of the inauguration of the Constitution of India, was besmirched, and violence and vandalism took place in the Indian capital," the ministry said.

READ MORE: US hails India's farm reforms, says peaceful protests 'hallmark of thriving democracy'

"Some of these vested interest groups have also tried to mobilise international support against India. Instigated by such fringe elements, Mahatma Gandhi statues have been desecrated in parts of the world. This is extremely disturbing for India and for civilised society everywhere."

Indian police forces have handled these protests with utmost restraint. It may be noted that hundreds of men and women serving in the police have been physically attacked, and in some cases stabbed and seriously wounded, it said.

"We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India's democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse," the government said.

Thousands of protesting farmers had clashed with the police during the tractor parade called by farmer unions on January 26 to highlight their demand for repeal of the three farm laws. Protesters deviated from the designated route for the proposed tractor parade and barged into the Red Fort. They also attacked cops, vandalised police vehicles and the ticket counter at the Red Fort. 

Some of them hoisted religious flags at Red Fort, the Mughal era monument from where the Prime Minister addresses the nation on Independence Day. The saffron flag hoisted by protesters was the 'Nishan Sahib', a symbol of Sikh religion seen at all Gurdwara complexes. The 'Nishan Sahib' is a triangular flag that is sacred to Sikhs. The flag is seen at all Gurdwara complexes. The emblem on the flag comprises of 'Khanda', a two-edged sword, Chakra, a disc, and two Kirpans that cross each other at the handles. The other flag appeared to be of a farmer union.

READ MORE: Delhi's Capitol Hill-like moment as protesting farmers go on rampage, lay siege on Red Fort

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