New Delhi: A day after the national capital saw unprecedented violence during the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally, Delhi police commissioner S.N. Shrivastava said on Wednesday some farmers’ leaders were also involved in the violence and that all those involved will not be spared. A Special Investigation Team, including officials from Special Cell, Crime Branch and the district police, has been constituted to investigate the incident.
The police has registered 25 First Information Reports (FIRs) for rioting, robbing, attempt to murder and other criminal offences across against several people, including some farmers’ leaders, and 19 people have been arrested while around 200 other were detained and 50 were questioned.
The Delhi police has named 37 farmers’ leaders, including Medha Patekar and Yogendra Yadav, in an FIR registered at the Samaypur Badli police station in connection with the violence. According to the FIR, the protesters also robbed an official pistol with 10 rounds of ammunition along with two gas guns.
The farmers’ leaders named in FIR include Rakesh Tikait, Medha Patekar, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal, Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Satnam Singh Pannu, Joginder Singh Ugraha, Surjeet Singh Phool, Jagjeet Singh Dalewal, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Harinder Singh Lakhoval, Gurnam Singh Chanduni.
The police chief also said by January 25 evening, it became clear that the farmers’ unions were not keeping their word as they brought forward the aggressive and militant elements who occupied the stage at protest sites and delivered provocative speeches.
He said that after five rounds of talks with the farmers’ union regarding the tractor parade on Republic Day, there was mutual agreement on the parade routes from the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders.
“The police laid down the conditions, which were agreed by the farmers and the first was a time that was fixed for the tractor rally at all borders from 12 noon to 5 pm. The second condition was that the tractor march will be led by farmers’ union leaders, and with every jatha their leader should lead the rally and tractors should not exceed more than 5,000 in the rally. The police also put a condition to not bring any kind of weapon. The farmers gave an undertaking and agreed on the route,” the police chief added.
“The farmer protesters from the Singhu border started their rally around 6.30 in the morning, hours before the time allotted, and despite requests from police officials they did not stop and broke the barricades,” the CP added.
“Farmer leader Satnam Singh Pannu, who was with the farmers from the Singhu border, was stopped by the police at Mukarba Chowk after they deviated from the route. Pannu sat on dharna and gave inflammatory speeches, following which the protesters got agitated and broke past the police-installed barricades towards ITO,” the police chief said, adding that Darshan Pal Singh, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha leader, also sat on a dharna with others when Mr Pannu delivered the speech.
“The farmers march from Tikri and Ghazipur also started at around 8.30 am. The farmers from the Tikri border also broke barricades at Nangloi to move ahead towards the Red Fort. They overturned trailers and also vandalised vehicles,” said the CP.
“The farmers’ leaders were instigating farmers and they were the ones who were refusing to move on the predetermined routes. We have videos showing how the leaders were instigating farmers. From Ghazipur, many from Rakesh Tikait’s team broke barriers and marched forward,” he said.
He also said not a single life was lost as the Delhi police showed extreme restraint. “As many as 25 FIRs have been registered so far. Police teams are using the facial recognition system and taking the help of CCTVs and video footage to identify the accused. Strict action will be taken against those identified. No culprit will be spared,” said the CP.
He said that 394 police personnel were injured while 30 police vehicles were damaged in the violence on Wednesday.
Six Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses were also damaged in the violence that broke out at ITO during the farmers’ tractor parade.
The tractor march turned violent as the protesters broke barricades and violated the agreed routes of the rally. The rioters entered Central Delhi and clashed with the police and laid siege to the Red Fort, where they hoisted flags. The capital’s ITO area became the main clashing point, where several police personnel and protesters sustained injuries....