Thousands of farmers poured into Bengaluru, many riding tractors, in solidarity with the tractor parade in New Delhi by farmers protesting against the Centre's proposed farm laws. This is the biggest protest over the farm laws held in Bengaluru and the city police reported that it was a peaceful event.
Protesting farmers and members of labour and Dalit groups gathered at the KSR Railway Station early on Tuesday anxiously waiting for news about their counterparts arriving from neighboring districts. Bengaluru police said that a fixed number of tractors would be allowed into the city. Farmers riding tractors were briefly halted by the police in places like Devanahalli, Nayandanahalli, KR Puram and Tumakuru Road but around 120 tractors were later allowed to pass through and enter the city's roads.
According to farmer groups organising the protest, fifty tractors each arrived in the city from Mysuru Road and Tumakuru Road while few more vehicles entered from Hosakote and Devanahalli. They arrived at the KSR Railway Station at 2 pm to kickstart the march to Freedom Park through the Anand Rao Circle flyover. "We were halted by the police on the way in Hosakote but later we were allowed to pass through. We have come here from Kolar," said Suresh, the driver of one of the tractors.
Another large group that came to the protest in Bengaluru was from Hassan district. "We are here to ask the Central government to roll back the farm laws. We have chosen today because today is the day our Constitution came into effect," said SV Yoganna, a 46 year-old farmer from Arkalgud in Hassan. He grows paddy and ragi in his farm and says that a fair MSP is crucial to his business. "We do not want to block traffic but we want to be here to voice our anger against the farm laws, especially our demand for a fair and guaranteed minimum support price," he added.
The protest was organised by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, and Samyukta Horata, an umbrella organisation of farmers and trade unions in Bengaluru. The farmers named their rally 'Jana Ganarajyotsava Parade' (People's Republic Parade). It was supported by a number of organisations including the Karnataka Sex Workers Union, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), and the Sikh community in Bengaluru among others. A group of LGBTQ+ activists cooked meals for the farm groups protesting in Bengaluru.
By the time the protesters began the march from KSR Railway Station to Freedom Park, news had filtered through about the violence reported during the tractor parade in New Delhi. However, Bengaluru police stated that the protest in the city was peaceful. The police estimated that there were 5,000 people at the protest even as farmer unions claimed this number was closer to 10,000.
"There weren't any incidents reported during the protest. Our conservative estimate is that there were 5,000 people at the protest," said Anuchet MN, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru (Central). Following the protest march, farmer leaders addressed the protesters at Freedom Park before dispersing in the evening.