Union home minister Amit Shah did not attend the at-home reception hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind on Republic Day, as he held a meeting with Delhi police commissioner SN Shrivastava and home secretary Ajay Bhalla to review the security situation after the protest turned violent.
Intelligence agencies had warned that some protesters may try to indulge in violence, but did not anticipate farmers in such large numbers will try to take over Delhi streets and not follow the designated routes for the rally.
Officials said serious lapses were pointed out during the security review. A major contingent of the Delhi Police was deployed for security at the Republic Day parade and had to be rushed to stop the protesters trying to enter central Delhi, they added.
Additional forces including central armed paramilitary forces were deployed later in the day. But by evening, the farmers were seen returning to the designated protest sites at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur on Delhi’s borders.
“An extra layer of security is being put in place in view of calls given by the farmer unions for a march to Parliament on February 1. More than 50 companies of paramilitary forces including Rapid Action Force will remain deployed in different parts of Delhi,” said a senior official.
Shrivastava said: “Public properties have been damaged and several policemen injured. We have been appealing the farmers not to indulge in violence, maintain peace and return through the designated routes.”
The home ministry, on the recommendation of Shrivastava, ordered suspension of Internet services in parts of the National Capital Region.