DailyOh! Farmers hoist controversial flag at Red Fort, unions say not part of violence

Farmers reached Red Fort even as one person died after a tractor turned turtle.

 |  5-minute read |   26-01-2021
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Happy Republic Day is what we should have said to you today, but then today turned out to be anything but happy. After agreeing to take out the protests on three routes, the farmers had a change of hearts and routes and decided to march to Red Fort instead. They hoisted a Khalsa flag from the Red Fort maybe in a bid to celebrate Independence Day on Republic Day. Two in one that got too much crazy. How much crazy? As crazy as democrazy.

khalsa_690_012621045300.jpgThe flag hoisted at Red Fort. (Photo: ANI)

What were the police doing? In a bid to stop the tractor rally from reaching Red Fort, security personnel fired tear-gas shells and used lathis to disperse the annadatas, who brandished swords and lathis of their own. When people clash, people get injured. It doesn’t matter whether they were marching or trying to stop the march. Both sides suffered injuries and then one protester died, after the tractor he was running amok on turned turtle at Delhi’s DDU Marg.

People on Twitter demanded peace after weeks of demanding the rally on Republic Day. Donald Trump egged on people to march to Capitol Hill and then distanced himself from the march and the violence. Is there a comparison? How can there be a comparison between Twitterati and a US President, even if former? Also, Trump is no longer on Twitter.

On Twitter, people called the protests this and that, and then began a search for three people – Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav and Amit Shah. Yadav put up a video urging for peace on Twitter. Tikait was seen with a small microphone trying to say something that was audible to perhaps just Tikait. Shah, who is being criticised for proving to be a weak Home Minister, remained missing in action, visibly at least. We assume that he was overlooking the situation from behind the scenes.

But before the scenes turned ugly, there was beauty, culture and valour on display as a highly curtailed Republic Day parade was taken out across the Rajpath. Republic Day was also celebrated in other parts of the country because it is India’s Republic Day after all. So, Indo-Tibetan Border Police celebrated the day at Pangong Tso lake.

itbp_690_012621045509.jpgITBP personnel celebrating Republic Day. (Photo: Twitter/@ITBP_official)

It may not seem to be the case today, but Republic Day parades are high on security. Actually, even today there was no disruption to the parade even if there was violence during it. You see, all Armed Forces chiefs, President, Prime Minister, Home Minister are present during the parade. And there is also a foreign dignitary. Though there was none this year, we are talking about the day in general and not just 2021. So the presence of such prominent people makes the whole affair a high-security event. What raises the risk is the presence of guns and tanks. The army personnel participating in the parade march with indigenously made INSAS rifles, whereas personnel of Special Security Forces march with Tavor rifle made in Israel. So every Armed Forces participant undergoes a four-level security check and four-level clearance. Also, none of the rifles or guns or whatever, have any live bullets in them. They are searched and emptied. Despite doing it all, we are sure security agencies must be spending tense hours as we sit back and enjoy the parade celebrations.

You may have lost your appetite seeing the violence this Republic Day but if you still want to make up for what’s left of the day, we suggest Tiranga Pulao.

Let’s pause the celebrations for a bit and let’s just reflect on the word for now. What word? The Word Of The Day - republic. The word republic comes from the Latin term res publica, which means ‘public thing’, ‘public matter’, or ‘public affair’ and refers to the state as a whole. So, if a state of a republic it is not the private concern or property of the rulers. That shouldn’t stretch to mean anyone can go and hoist any flag on Red Fort, or Taj Mahal, or Qutab Minar or anywhere one feels like. There are rules. Elected governments set the rules. People vote in and vote out elected governments, so they are participants in the rules being set. You may not like rules, but the absence of rules would make you crave for a double dislike button.

For the return of rule, the Union Home Ministry, under Amit Shah, has suspended internet connection in Singhu border, Ghazipur border, Tikri border, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi. The suspension will stay in place till midnight and may be extended if the situation doesn’t ease. A high-level meeting on the security situation is underway even as some tractors have begun to head back to where they came from. Additional forces have been asked to stay on alert.

Meanwhile, customary condemnations have been made. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said violence is not the solution to anything. And Samyukta Kisan Morcha has said it is thankful to farmers for “the unprecedented participation in today’s Farmers Republic Day Parade” but has also condemned and regretted “the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts."

rahul-gandhi_690_012621045437.jpg

The thing about associating with mobs is that you can’t dissociate with it partly. A mob is a complete whole, whose beginning, end, form and motivation are all ambiguous. You are either a part of it or you are not. You can’t be a part of it partially. So, choose your associations carefully.

It is time for us to leave you for today, but this is not the note on which we want to leave you on. So, we would leave you in conversation with the actor and director of Tribhanga. You can’t be part of the conversation beyond the point of listening in, but you may still enjoy listening to one.

Stay away from mobs to stay safe.

We will see you tomorrow.

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Also read: RIP David Washbrook, a historian, scholar, mentor par excellence

Writer

Vandana Vandana @vsinghhere

Author is the former Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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