Angry farmers storm India's Red Fort in massive tractor rally

Angry farmers storm India's Red Fort in massive tractor rally

Earlier, the farmers had deviated from the designated route for the proposed tractor parade against the new farm laws and moved toward ITO in central Delhi.

The farmers draped the body in the tricolour and kept it at the ITO crossing, not allowing the police to send it for post-mortem. A protester died after his tractor overturned.

Several protesters said they had recently joined the agitation at Ghazipur, where farmers predominantly from Uttar Pradesh had gathered, and claimed they were unaware of the proposed route map for the rally.

The protests were set off by new agricultural laws parliament passed in September.

Banerjee urged the Centre to engage with the farmers and repeal the new farm laws, which she termed draconian.

Agriculture supports more than half of the country's 1.4 billion people. Many Indian families have roots in farming, and solidarity rallies have erupted across India.

She and her friends were dressed in white, orange and green - the colors of the Indian flag.

Tens of thousands of protesting farmers have driven long lines of tractors into India's capital, breaking through police barricades, defying tear gas, and storming the historic Red Fort as the nation celebrated Republic Day. In a statement, the police also claimed the force did all due diligence in following the conditions for the rally, but the protesters began their march much ahead of the scheduled time and extensive damage to public property was caused. The centerpiece of the holiday is a traditional military parade, over which Modi presided.

But after barging through barricades on the city's main arteries, convoys of farmers on tractors sped wildly around city roads, forcing police and bystanders to leap for safety.

Images from the ITO metro station junction - on the route to central Delhi - showed police clashing with farmers and using tear gas and batons.

Around half of India's population works in agriculture, and unrest among the estimated 150 million land-owning farmers represents one of the biggest challenges to the authority of Modi since he came to power in 2014. "Till the government is not comfortable with the law and order situation, the internet services are not coming back", says a telecom analyst. She appealed to farmer unions to help maintain peace.

After nightfall Tuesday, those unions called off the tractor rally.

But they did not go home.

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