Police agreed to allow Tuesday’s rally after several rounds of talks on the condition that it would not interrupt the annual Republic Day parade, which takes place in central Delhi. They gave farmers specific routes for their rally, which would largely be confined to the outskirts. But farmers instead converged on the iconic 16th Century fortress. They breached security and clambered onto the walls and domes of the fort, even hoisting flags alongside the national flag. While farmers at several entry points appear to have followed the agreed routes, a section of protesters at the Ghazipur, Sinnghu and Tikri borders, three of the six main entry points to the city, broke through police barricades earlier in the day Those at Ghazipur started marching towards central Delhi, where India’s parliament is located. “Mr Modi will have to take back these black laws for sure,” one protester told the BBC’s Salman Ravi. Images from the ITO metro station junction – which is on the route to central Delhi – showed police clashing with protesting farmers and using tear gas and batons against them. Protesters driving tractors appeared to be deliberately trying to run over police personnel. Local media reported injuries on both sides. At least one protester died at the junction when his tractor overturned as police fired tear gas. BBC correspondents say protesters outnumber the police at the ITO junction, and the latter are struggling to control the crowd. “We have been appealing to farmers to go by pre-approved route but some of them broke police barricades, attacked police personnel,” a senior police officer told ANI news agency. “We are appealing to farmers’ unions to help maintain peace.” Leaders of the main union of farmers have also appealed people to maintain peace. “We thank farmers for the unprecedented participation [today]. We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts,” said a statement from Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a farmers’ group. The annual parade involves armed forces showcasing their latest equipment and floats from several states presenting their culture on a national stage. The parade is shorter and more muted this year due to the pandemic. Mr Modi and cabinet ministers watched the official parade on Tuesday morning, but did not encounter any protesters. They were driven back to their residences before the farmers reached central Delhi. The laws had sparked protests even as they made their way through parliament in September. While Mr Modi defended them, farmer groups likened them to a “death warrant”. The stand-off continued as tens of thousands of farmers from the northern states of Punjab and Haryana marched to Delhi in late November and began sit-ins at the city limits, many of which still continue. What exactly do the laws propose? Taken together, the laws loosen rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce – rules that have protected India’s farmers from the free market for decades. Farmers fear that the new laws will threaten decades-old concessions – such as assured prices – and weaken their bargaining power, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by private companies. Are these reforms necessary? Most economists and experts agree that Indian agriculture desperately needs reform. But critics of the government say it failed to follow a consultative process and did not take farmers’ unions into confidence before passing the laws. Experts also point out that the reforms fail to take into account that agriculture still remains a mainstay in the Indian economy. More than half of Indians work on farms and the government provides farmers with generous subsidies, exempts them from income tax and crop insurance, guarantees a minimum price for 23 crops and regularly waives off debts. “Now the government is saying, we will get out of the way, and asking us to deal directly with big businesses. But we didn’t demand this in the first place! So why are they doing this to us?” Rakesh Vyas, a farmer, told the BBC’s Soutik Biswas recently.