Delhi Police chief defends concrete barriers, fortified security at farmer protest sites; visits injured personnel
On being asked about the security measures, Shrivastava told reporters that he was surprised that nobody raised questions when protesters attacked policemen during the Republic Day tractor rally
Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava on Tuesday defended the heightened security measures at city borders, saying the force has "strengthened" barricades so that they cannot be broken again.
With multi-layered barricading, iron nails on road, barbed wires, iron rods between cemented barriers and deployment of DTC buses and extra personnel on ground, the tremendous security cover at and near the farmers' protest locations have now become sites of unusual attraction.
The strengthened security measures at the agitation sites across the borders come after the violence during the Republic day tractor parade by protesting farmers' in which over 500 security personnel were injured.
On being asked about the security measures, Shrivastava told reporters in Pitampura (outer district of Delhi Police) that he was surprised that nobody raised questions when protesters attacked policemen during the Republic Day tractor rally.
"I am surprised that when tractors were used on 26 January to attack policemen and barricades were broken, no questions were raised at that time. What have we done now? We have just strengthened the barricades so that they are not broken again," he said.
The Delhi Police had registered 44 FIRs against protesters in connection with the violence and arrested 122 people.
Thousands of farmers have been agitating at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri near Delhi borders for over two months against the Centre's new farm laws.
The Delhi Police chief also visited the police personnel who were injured during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic day, and lauded them for exercising utmost restraint in the face of violent behaviour while persuading the farmers to follow designated routes.
Shrivastava was accompanied by senior police officers, including Special Commissioner of Police (West Zone) Sanjay Singh and Joint Commissioner of Police (Western Range) Shalini Singh, officials said.
A total of 510 police personnel were injured during the incident and as many as 144 among them were from western range of the Delhi Police, they said.
The Delhi Police Commissioner said the force remained firm, yet polite while performing their duty in such hostile situation.
He said the staff took appropriate action understanding the gravity of the situation in the interest of people of Delhi and the dignity of the force. He also lauded the personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) for performing their duty efficiently along with Delhi Police.
Shrivastava asked the personnel to be prepared for tougher duties ahead and stressed upon practising riot control drills and giving due consideration to personal safety, while facing any demonstration.
Though some financial assistance has been extended for the injured from Police Families Welfare Society funds, it would not compensate their injuries and pain, Anil Mittal, Additional PRO (Delhi Police), said in a statement.
The Delhi Police chief also directed the district heads to stay in constant touch with the injured personnel, and wished them speedy recovery.
Among the badly injured are Inspector Baljeet Singh, SHO Mohan Garden, and head constable Jagbir posted on Vajra Vahan' (anti-riot vehicle). Inspector Baljeet was deputed at Ghazipur picket when the violent mob attacked him at around 2 pm on January 26. He held ground for more than an hour and fractured both his hands while controlling the crowd, according to police.
Jagbir was stuck inside Vajra Vahan, which was attacked from all sides. He was thrashed all over with lathis and suffered spinal injuries, they added.
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