The Congress’s youth wing on Monday said a group of its members set a tractor on fire at Rajpath, which connects the India Gate to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, in protest against the new farm laws as the party planned to intensify protests against the legislation.
“Our country thrives on the blood and sweat of our farmers. From fighting the British to feeding the entire nation, our farmers are the nation’s backbone. On [freedom fighter] #BhagatSingh’s birth anniversary Youth Congress set ablaze a tractor in protest against the govt’s anti-farmer bills,” the Youth Congress said in a tweet.
Our country thrives on the blood and sweat of our farmers.
From fighting the British to feeding the entire nation, our farmers are the nation’s backbone.
— Youth Congress (@IYC) September 28, 2020
President Ram Nath Kovind signed three contentious farm bills into law on Sunday even as over a dozen Opposition parties urged him not to sign them, saying they were passed “unconstitutionally” in “complete disregard” of parliamentary norms
The tractor was set afire hours before Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress began a sit-in at Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village of Khatkar Kalan against the laws.
Farmers have been blocking the Amritsar-Delhi railway track as part of protests against the laws even as the government has insisted that they will make them self-reliant. They say the new laws could lead to an end of the minimum support prices for their produce.
The burning tractor.
The Congress has likened the laws to cancer and slow poison that will kill farmers and agriculture. It has urged all parties to come together and oppose the laws, which the party said will make farmers “slaves of big businessmen”.
The Delhi police said five people have been detained for setting the tractor afire and that the fire was doused and no one was injured in the incident.
“Today [Monday] at around 7:15 am, some [15-20] persons carrying a tractor in Tata 407 vehicle came at Rajpath, Man Singh Crossing. They offloaded the tractor and tried to set it ablaze. They claimed to be members of Youth Congress, Punjab. Appropriate legal action has been taken,” a Delhi police spokesman said. “Five persons have been detained till now and one vehicle impounded. Affiliation of these persons is being verified.”
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Passersby told police the men raised slogans of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” and clicked pictures with the burning tractor. Some also went live on social media from the spot. They were also carrying effigies.
Deputy police commissioner Eish Singhal said: “Our men reached the spot and doused the fire before the tractor was completely burnt. The vehicle has been removed and legal action is being taken.”
Officials said the adequate police force has been deployed in the area to avoid a repeat of such an incident.
The Delhi Police have stepped up security around the city’s borders amid the ongoing farmers’ protest in Punjab and Haryana against the farm reforms. On Friday, the police prevented protesting farmers from entering Delhi through the Mayur Vihar border.