NEW DELHI (INDIA) – Protesters that stormed New Delhi’s Red Fort had caused “insult” to the country, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, making his first public comments on a months-long farmers’ agitation that turned violent this week.
“The country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolor (Indian flag) on the 26th of January in Delhi,” Modi said in a radio address.
A tractor parade by the farmer’s on Tuesday’s Republic Day turned violent when some protesters deviated from pre-agreed routes, clashed with police and breached the historic Red Fort complex in the capital. One died and hundreds were injured.
“The government is committed to modernizing agriculture and is also taking many steps in that direction,” the PM said.
Farm leaders the violence was caused by a minority of those on parade.
The government has left open the possibility resuming talks between the two sides . Modi told opposition party leaders on Saturday an offer to freeze the laws for 18 months still stands.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of Delhi for more than two months, protesting the new agricultural laws which they say benefits private buyers at the expense of growers.