Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 219, 28 January 2021

India: Farmers' protest turns violent with a political game of double-speak
Alok Gupta

In the news
On 26 January, the farmers' protest turned violent on New Delhi's streets, after two months of their commencement. The outrage was massive and unprecedented; reportedly, 200,000 tractors were mobilized against the permission of 5,000 tractors for the rally and flouted the routes specified by the administration. The protestors and the police clashed after protestors removed the barricades to enter Central Delhi. They successfully entered Delhi, destroyed public property, injured police personnel, stormed the historic Red Fort, and hoisted their two different flags scaling iconic monuments' walls.  

Farmers, while entering Central Delhi, were continuously requested to maintain law and order by the Delhi Police. Reportedly, a tractor overturned leading to the death of a farmer who was driving. When police approached to help and rescue, they were attacked, hence left the scene. Following which the farmers turned violent, and hooliganism began.

The Delhi Police registered FIR against several farmer leaders and has also detained nearly 200 farmers to be arrested. 86 police personnel got injured as reported. According to Police, farmers used swords, lathis and other weapons during their attacks. Hence, police booked them under IPC sections like 395, 397 and 120(b).

Issues at large
The farmers' unions are being accused of double-speak: promising peaceful march to the administration and resorting to violence when allowed in good-faith. Thus, it has led to blame game raising several issues.

First, the police must have had intelligence report if the attack was a planned-one. The administration must be aware of the number and quality of the protestors scheduled to enter Delhi for Tractor Rally, as the matter was under consideration for last two weeks. Under such circumstances, police would have made adequate arrangements to restrain any untoward incident and would have regulated the entry. Calling off participation in Tractor Rally by Samyukt Kisan Morcha on January 26 itself suggests, farmers may be in full-knowledge of such plans.   

Second, one incident of tractor accident and death of farmer may have enraged the protestors. Even if the violence was a consequence of some spontaneous happening, Delhi Police and administration must have had preparation for immediate interventions and containment of its escalation. Then, why it continued destroying huge public property?

Third, the Home Minister, Government of India, must have maintained a strict vigil on the entire episode. Responsibility for maintaining law and order in the wake of proposed tractor rally lies on him. Opposition parties also have blamed it on the government. The Home Minister is being castigated as the weakest Home Minister of India and is being asked for his resignation, taking responsibility for failure to contain it.

Fourth, the government has been on an offensive towards the movement since the beginning. It has been highlighting external funding to the movement, external agencies and branding the protestors as Khalistanis. This smacks of government's mishandling of the movement and lack of capacity to resolve after several rounds of negotiations. 

Fifth, some farmer unions pulled out of the protest movement because of the vandalism in Delhi. The Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, All India Kishan Sangharsh Coordination Committee and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) condemned it as unacceptable. This suggests that the crack within the movement evident on many occasions is now obvious and has deepened. Protestors are likely to lose the support of civil society.

Sixth, Abhay Singh, MLA of Indian National Lokdal reached Haryana Assembly on a tractor and tendered his resignation to the Speaker from membership of Assembly in support of farmers protest in Delhi. Speaker subsequently accepted the resignation. Since the beginning, attempts have been made at politicization of the movement. Present violence reveals that the political parties are now trying to gain political mileage out of the movement.  

In perspective
The farmer's leaders may not have envisaged that the tractor rally would witness such incidents. The violence questions the control of the leaders over the movement. It may have degraded their 'good cause' in the eyes of the civil society; some may even opine, that the violence has served the very purpose of the government. Vested interests may have been eying to defame the protest movement and were successful in their endeavour.

Government has entire state machinery at its disposal. Therefore, the onus of restraining and containing such episodes of internal conflict lies upon the Government. Political game of one-upmanship must not be played at the cost of public property.   

July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre

July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 362
Iran: Another act of
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire
February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 

January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars
December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists
November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal

January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings

December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar