New Delhi: Delhi police commissioner S N Shrivastava on Wednesday held the farmer union leaders liable for the riot in the capital on Republic Day. Implying a deliberate conspiracy, the police chief blamed the leaders for giving rise to “militant elements” – who was not at the forefront till then – into the picture from the night of January 25 and giving them the stage open to them that provocatively drove to the large-scale violence.
Lecturing at a press conference, the top cop contended that Delhi Police would not skimp anyone involved in the riot. He said the number of police crew wounded in Tuesday’s chaos stood at 394. “Nineteen people have been arrested till now, and around 50 have been detained. Over 25 FIRs have been filed,” he announced.
Facial recognition software is being utilized to recognize the rioters. The commissioner blamed the farmer leaders for going back on their pact with the police and infringing every condition that was agreed upon. He recollected how leaders like Darshan Pal Singh, Satnam Singh Pannu, and others had provocative lectures, which steered to the violence. Meanwhile, Darshan Pal Singh has been summoned by the police for questioning about the riot.
“The force showed extreme restraint so that there was no loss of life. It was done in everyone’s interest,” the police commissioner added. The top cop thought back to how they had come to learn about the proposed rally on January 2. It forthwith addressed the farmers who were revolting under the support of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.
“Five rounds of extensive meetings were conducted. Initially, the kisan organisations were requested to change their date due to the police’s commitments for the Republic Day parade security arrangements. Despite our repeated requests, they refused to budge,” said the police chief.
He said the police offered them the entire peripheral expressway of 270 km along with security and traffic management. “After much persuasion, these leaders agreed on three routes for the tractor parade from three border points. As is the practice, Delhi Police requested the farmer organisations for an undertaking on the terms and conditions of the said tractor rally. This was agreed to by all the farmer organisations,” he added.
Despite agreeing on the mutually decided terms and conditions for the rally, the farmer leaders acted in a very irresponsible manner on Tuesday, said Shrivastava. “Their wrong intent was apparent on the night of January 25 when the militant sections of the protesting farmers who were at the rear of the dharna were brought forward at Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur borders. These militant elements occupied the stage and started provocative speeches right from the early hours of January 26,” said the top cop.
“On January 26, against the agreed time of 12 noon, the rally started at Singhu border at 7.30 am, at Tikri at 8.45am and at Ghazipur at 8.30 am,” he recalled.
Likewise, protesters from the Tikri border came up to Nangloi T-point. Rather than turning right, they strived to remove barricades positioned on the roads leading to Delhi. “A good number of them sat down here too, prominent amongst them being Buta Singh Burjgil. After some time, all these protesting farmer organisations, despite their assurances to remain peaceful and take the rally along the designated route, removed the barricades and went towards Delhi,” said the police chief. He said these protesters performed the most brutal and reprehensible act at Red Fort. They climbed atop the ASI-protected monument, vandalised the whole area, and unfurled a religious flag.
“Flags of all the farmers organisations were later recovered from the Red Fort premises. The vandalisation of Red Fort on Republic Day was a most deplorable and anti-national act. Delhi Police has taken all these incidents of violence quite seriously,” he said.
“We want to make it clear to everyone that no one involved in these violent incidents will be spared. All the leaders of the farmer organisations who were participating in these violent activities would be prosecuted,” he said.