On 26th of January 2021, when the whole nation was celebrating the 72nd Republic
Day displaying its military might, showcasing the strength and ability of
India's Defence Forces, all mighty hunters : Rafale fighter jets and cultural
heritage at Rajpath, not one a few kilometres away what was to be a peaceful
protest of farmers turned into a riot.
All hell broke loose. The riot was led by
farmers of Punjab and Haryana region in an ongoing protest against the three
farms act which was passed by the parliament of India in September of 2020, the
protest has been going on since. The farmers of Punjab and Haryana has been
showing their disapproval on the new farmers acts by protesting. After failing
to get the support from the state government, the farmers decided to build a
pressure on the central government by marching to Delhi and protesting there
peaceful protest with a few clashes every now and then were maintained until the
republic day of 2021. On the 26th of January 2021 tens of thousands of farmers
drove a convoy to the Red Fort, when stopped by police they resorted to
violence, vandalism, damage to public property, damage to the national monument
and what not.
The aftermath of this incident saw many different reaction from public not only
within the country but all around the world.
After the riot it was seen very clearly that the farmers misused their Right to
Protest given as a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Indian
Constitution. The reaction of the public was mixed, while some condemned the
riot while others called it a protest.
This project states the definition of a true protest and was the incident that
happened on the 26th of January was a protest or a riot.
The research work is based on the data collected by the secondary sources such
as books, article, newspapers, journals, etc. The collection of data has been
analysed through suitable techniques at different places.
On 17th of September 2020, the Three Farm Acts namely, (1) Farmers' Produce
Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, (2) Farmers (Empower
and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, and (3)
Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 was passed by the Parliament of
By the first week of November, many farmers around near the Punjab and Haryana
region showed their dissatisfaction and anger against the Farm Bills by burning
26th January 2021 Riot
- By the last week of November, protesters began their march towards Delhi (the country's capital). On the Delhi borders they were stopped by a large group of Police force who used tear gas, water cannons and physical force to keep them from entering Delhi. This was the part of "Dilli Chalo" campaign.
- On the 27th of November 2020, the farmer protesters were granted peaceful access to Delhi by the government.
- On the 1st of December 2020, government officials from the ruling party had a talk with the protesters and their leaders. Although both sides reached no conclusion, both the sides agreed that the talk has been "good."
- From the first week of December 2020 to the third week of January 2020, everything was peaceful, other than a few clashes, strikes, solidarity protests, and the works every now and then.
- On 2nd January 2021, Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders announced that if their core demand of the abolition of the Farms law is not met by the 26th of January 2021, they would hold a "Farmers Republic Day Parade."
- On 23rd January 2021, Delhi Police accorded permission to the rally with several conditions; the kisan rally will start after the end of the parade on Rajpath, and the farmers will follow a route that was decided by the police.
- On 26th January 2021, tens of thousands of farmers drove their convoy carrying lethal weapons like swords to routes and places that were accorded by the Delhi Police. This rally turned into a violent protest or a riot as the protesters drove through the barricades and reports with clashes with police were also seen. The group of protesters that reached the Red Fort hoisted the religious flag from the ramparts and invaded and damaged the national monument. After the riots, casualties on both sides were reported.
On 26th January 2021, a riot and a violent attack broke out by the protesters of
the farm bills. The protest had started 4 months prior to the republic day. The
farmers had marched all the way from Punjab and Haryana to Delhi to protest but
were stopped by the Police and Security forces who kept them out of the boarders
of Delhi which halted their movements. Several talks between the higher ups and
the farmers failed to reach any conclusion. Finally, the farmers decided to take
out a rally on the 26th of January 2021. The authorities after several
disagreements finally agreed to let the farmers launch their rallies but on a
fixed rout decided by the government and after the parade on Rajpath gets over.
But on the day of the rally many protesters broke the protocol and drove their
long convoy of tractors on the routs that were not authorized by the
authorities, this resulted in a clash between the protesters and the police /
security personals. A large group of protesters also reached the Red Fort and
started rioting there, this group was in tens of thousands, most of them were
armed with Swords, Kirpans, Fursas, etc. They destroyed the police barricade,
intervened the Red Fort, climbed up the domes of the fort and hoisted their
The day's incident resulted in a number of casualties in both the corners.
Around 400 men were injured, and 30 police vehicles were destroyed, while a
large number of rioters were also injured with 1 dead in a tractor accident,.
The rioters also caused damage to the Red Fort and facilities inside the fort.
The internet services in Delhi were also shut down after the riot.
Khalistani elements were also involved in the riots, with one false claim that
Khalistani flag were hoisted on the Red Fort. Reports also suggested that some
groups of the farmers were funded by the Khalistani terrorist organisation, they
were told to hoist the Khalistani flag on the Red Fort in exchange of reward
money. Reports of seeing Khalistani flags with their supporters raising the
Khalistani slogans were also seen. Indian intelligence agencies including RAW,
and NIA had also confirmed the involvement of Khalistani elements.
terror group SFJ accepted their hands behind the riot in Red Fort, they also
confirmed that they rewarded $25,000 USD to the supporters to hoist the
Khalistani flag on Red Fort. Indian Intelligence also confirmed that Pakistan's
ISI paid 5 Crores to Khalistani terror group ' Babbar Khalsa', RAW had tracked
down the money transfers from UK, Germany, and Canada. � 200,000 were tracked to
be funded from Italy by a different Khalistani terror group.
Right To Protest
Public Protests are the walls on which a democratic country thrives, as it
allows the voices of the common man to be heard by those in power, in fact India
got independence because of a series of protests and demonstrations against the
The right to protest is a fundamental rights which comes under of the Indian
constitution. The right to peacefully protest or to assemble peacefully without
arm is protected under Article 19(1)(a), 19(1)(b), of the Indian constitution.
As per the Articles:
- All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, with this right is subject to reasonable restriction imposed on the expression of this right for certain purpose under Article 19(2).
- All citizens shall have the right to assemble peaceably without arms, with this right is subjected to reasonable restriction imposed on the expression of this right for certain purpose under Article 19(2).
- All citizens shall have the right to form associations or unions (or co-operative societies), with this right is subjected to reasonable restriction imposed on the expression of this right for certain purpose under Article 19(2).
Right to protest is one of the most important element of the Indian democracy to
bring about reforms and lead to the development of the country. Protesting
against injustice is not only a right but also a moral duty. Active exercise of
right to protest also ensures the people's role as watchdogs that constantly
monitors government's acts and ensures fairness in them. It is one of the most
powerful weapon of people when the government in a democratic country becomes
unresponsive and refuse to listen to them.
Peaceful protest is a fundamental right and the lifeline of democracy, without
which there would be a low accountability left with the ruling government and
every citizen has to wait for the next election to show out their anger against
it. But reasonable restrictions are also important so that peaceful protest do
not turn into a violent riot. It should not be made an excuse to supress every
form of protest as it is the primary duty of every government to protect the
ideals of the constitution.Restrictions
The right to protest is not an absolute right and also subjected to be
reasonably restricted. The right to protest can be restricted by a number of
factors. Reasonable restrictions are itself mentioned in the Article 19(2) and
Article 19(3) Part III of the Constitution of India.A protest can be restricted
in the following grounds:
- In the interest of the sovereignty & integrity of India
- The security of the state
- Friendly relation with the foreign state
- Violation of Public order
- Decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement of an offence
The grounds of restrictions that are based on public violation of public order
can only be reasonable when there is a proof that the protesters will incite
lawless or disorderly acts and that such actions are very likely to occur.
The restrictions or limitations of the right to protest are also stated on the
Section 144 of the CrPC ( Criminal Procedure Code ). It empowers the Executive
Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly
of four or more than four people in an area. It prohibits public gathering on
that area where it is imposed. The people found to be doing this can be booked
for engaging in rioting.
Section 144 is imposed only in urgent cases of nuisance or an apprehended danger
of some event that has the potential to cause danger, trouble or damage to human
life or property. It also restricts from carrying any sort of weapon in the area
where the act has been imposed. Anyone found breaking this law can face up to 3
years of punishment.
India has had a very long history of riots. Right from the independence of the
nation in 1947 till today, the nation has seen many unfortunate riots like the
one that happened on the republic day of 2021.
Rioting under criminal law is defined as a violence offence against public order
involving three or more people. Section 146 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860,
defines rioting as "whenever force or violence is used by an unlawful assembly,
or by any member therefore, in prosecution of the common object of such
assembly, every number of such assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting."
Rioting is illegal in India. The Section 147 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
states that " whoever is guilty of rioting, shall be punished with imprisonment
of either description for a term which extend to two years, or with fine, or
Difference Between A Protest And A Riot
|A Protest is a peaceful organised public
demonstration of disapproval.
||A Riot is a public disturbance involving a
violent act by a group of people.
|Protest is a fundamental right in India, It
is stated in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution that protesting is
every citizens fundamental right.
||Rioting is illegal in India, any citizen
found taking part in a riot will be punishable by law and can face upto
2 years in prison.
|Protesters participate in a protest without
arms and weapons.
||Rioters often use arms and weapons.
After examining all the facts and figures it is concluded that the violent
incident that happened on the 26th of January 2021 was an unfortunate and a
tragic riot.. As per Article 19 of the Constitution of India there were several
elements that does not qualify as a protest,the use of violence, loss of life,
clashes with the police and security forces, protester using weapons like
swords, kirpans, fursas, etc, are some of the elements that made it distinguish
from a protest.
Right to Protest is a right on which a democratic country
thrives, the protesters clearly misused this right, the acts done by them
qualifies as a riot. There is no such thing as a peaceful protest, a protest has
to be peaceful, and the protesters will have to assemble peacefully in order to
get their action qualify as a protest.ReferencesActs & Reports
- • The Constitution of India, 1950
- • The Indian Penal Code, 1860
- • The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974
- See Article 19(1)(a) of The Constitution of India
- See Article 19(1)(b) of The Constitution of India
- See Article 19(1)(c) of The Constitution of India
- See Section 146 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
- See Section 147 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860