Masked Man at Farmers’ Protest Makes U-Turn on Statements: Police
Sonipat police said they have not detained or arrested the man but are quizzing him about his allegations.
In a press conference on Friday, 22 January, night, farmers protesting at the Delhi-Haryana’s Singhu border claimed to have captured a man who said he was allegedly trained to incite violence during the 26 January tractor rally planned by farmers and kill farmer leaders ahead of it.
He was taken in custody of Haryana’s Sonipat district police who are investigating him. The police, on Saturday, said, as quoted by ANI, “He is a resident of Sonipat and is unemployed. On questioning, it came to fore that he had arguments with farmer volunteers over allegations of eve-teasing. He was taken to a camp where he was beaten up. He has said he made statements under fear.”
The man had claimed on Friday that he is allegedly part of a ten-member team, which also includes two women. He, however, did not know the names of the others.
Reacting to queries from the media about this man and his intentions, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said, “The police are interrogating him (masked man who appeared in farmers' press conference) and nothing can be said until the investigation is completed. All usual security arrangements are in place for Republic Day programmes,” ANI reported.
In the press conference, the man, identified as Yogesh by media channels, expressed his intentions.
“Our plan was that on 26 January...from the first line, a gun will be fired when the Delhi police tries to stop (the tractor rally).[sic.] The orders are to first try and stop them (farmers). If they don’t stop, the orders are to fire at them,” the captured man, his face covered, told mediapersons.
The man made more allegations, including that he was trained by the Station House Officer of Rai police station. However, according to an NDTV report, the concerned SHO is a man called Vivek Malik and no one by the name of Pradeep is stationed here. The report also states how Malik has been here for the past seven months, adding that the press conference took him by surprised, when he heard the claims made by the captured man.
Sonipat SP Jashandeep Singh Randhawa said, “Our preliminary investigation shows that there is no inspector named Pradeep is in the district or at Rai Police Station.”
One of the farmer leaders said that the man had identified four farmer leaders who were to be targeted after 23 January.
However, the Sonipat Police on Saturday said, “He (the masked man presented by farmers at the Singhu border on Friday) had alleged that he used to get calls from a landline number. Details gathered by us don't show any such thing. He was also not present at the CM's rally in Karnal on 10 January as alleged.”
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