Police Name 37 Farmer Leaders in 25 FIRs Post Red Fort Violence

Leaders like Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, Yogendra Yadav and BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait have been named in the FIRs

4 min read
Tear gas was used to disperse farmers attempting to break through barricades at Ghazipur border for the Kisan Gantantra Parade, in protest against the Centre’s farm reform laws, on 26 January, in New Delhi.

The Delhi Police has 50 detained and 19 arrested in connection with the violence that ensued on Tuesday, 26 January, and have filed 25 FIRs and named 37 farmer leaders including Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, Yogendra Yadav and BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait.

“More than 25 criminal cases have been registered by Delhi Police. We are using the facial recognition system and taking the help of CCTV and video footage to identify the accused. No culprit will be spared,” said Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava in a press conference on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Delhi police also named farm leaders Darshan Pal, Rajinder Singh, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Buta Singh Burj Gil and Joginder Singh Ugraha in an FIR for breaching the mutually agreed upon route for the farmers’ tractor rally, reported ANI.

After claiming that around 300 police personnel were injured in the incident, Delhi Police has registered an FIR under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity), 120 b (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 147 (punishment for rioting), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (to spread the infection of disease dangerous to life), 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) among other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

A crowd of protesting farmers stormed into the Red Fort to plant their own flags, alongside the tricolour on Republic Day. The police has also said that they will be arrested soon. The matter will be investigated by the Crime Branch, according to the Delhi Police.

What The FIRs Say

The 25 FIRs registered at different police stations in Delhi have several common features. Most of them have been registered under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, as well as sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, rioting, assault of public servants, and spread of infectious diseases.

The most serious charge in the FIRs is of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC, which can be punished with imprisonment for life. This is tied to the violence allegedly committed against police officers whether through attacks on the ground or using tractors.

Some of the FIRs also include charges of dacoity and robbery with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt, which also carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

In addition to the IPC sections on spread of infectious diseases, there are also some FIRs alleging violations of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.

None of the FIRs at this time appear to name any suspects or accused persons. 

While some FIRs list the names of the various farmer union leaders who engaged in negotiations with the Centre, as well as other leaders like Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, the contents of the FIRs do not accuse them of any specific role, and nor are they listed in the suspects/accused persons column of the documents.

What the Delhi Police Said

The Delhi Police, in its statement, said that the farmers deviated from pre-decided routes, despite giving an undertaking to the police.

Speaking specifically about the violence that ensued in ITO, the force said:

“At ITO, a large group of farmers, who had come from Ghazipur and Singhu borders, attempted to move towards New Delhi district.”

The police said that when the protesters were stopped by the policemen, a group among them became violent, broke the barricades, and damaged iron grills and dividers. The police further alleged that the violent group ‘even tried to run over the policemen, who were deployed at these barricades’.

“Meanwhile, some farmers also indulged in vandalism and attacked policemen,” Delhi Police said.

ITO turned into a battleground on Tuesday with the police using tear gas on farm law protesters and lathi-charging farmers amid clashes. Visuals of protesters retaliating by driving their tractors towards the police also emerged.

Speaking about the clashes at Red Fort, the Delhi Police said:

“At Lal Qila, they broke the gates and entered the wells of Red Fort. A section of the crowd also managed to climb atop the rampart of the Red Fort where they hoisted their organisation’s flag. With great efforts, Delhi Police managed to remove the crowd from the Rampart and the vicinity.”

Most of the incidents were reported from Mukarba Chowk, Ghazipur, A-Point ITO, Seemapuri, Nangloi T-Point, Tikri Border and Red Fort, the statement read.

“The Delhi Police is keeping a close watch on the situation. It is also registering cases of violation of lawful directions, rioting, damage to public property and assault on public servant with deadly weapons regarding several incidents reported from various locations.”
Delhi Police’s statement

Joint Commissioner of Police, Alok Kumar, told ANI, on Tuesday, that Additional DCP (East) Manjeet tried to stop the farmers from breaking the barricades but they tried to mow him down.

The injured cops have been taken to different hospitals in the capital, including LNJP Hospital, Civil Line Hospital, Maharaja Agrasen, Lok Nayak Hospital, Tarak, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Aruna Asif Ali Hospital, Balaji Action, Lady Hardinge and Tirath Ram Shah Hospital, reported NDTV.

Additional Troops to Be Deployed

According to Tuesday’s reports, extra paramilitary forces are likely to be deployed in the national capital following the meeting between Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Home Secretary and Delhi Commissioner of Police.

“These would be over and above 15 companies which were sent yesterday,” government sources had said on Tuesday, reported PTI.

Delhi Police Blame Farmers for Vandalism

Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava told news agency ANI that farmers drove tractors in different routes and began their rally before the fixed time, which, he claimed, led to vandalism.

“The time and the routes for the tractor rally were finalised after several rounds of meetings. But farmers drove tractors off the routes and before the fixed time, leading to vandalism in which many police personnel were injured,” Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava to ANI

“Public properties have also been damaged. I appeal to the protesting farmers not to indulge in violence, maintain peace and return through the designated routes.”
Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava to ANI

“Legal action will definitely be taken against those who assaulted the police personnel during the farmers' tractor rally today,” added Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police, said on Tuesday.

“Protesters turned violent at some places. Many police personnel were injured and public properties also damaged. Police exercised restraint and used force only when needed. I appeal to protesters to return through the designated routes and maintain peace.”
Delhi Police Spokesperson Eish Singhal

(With inputs from ANI and NDTV.)

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