'Farmer leaders betrayed us': Delhi Police chief on R-Day violence; lauds restraint showed by personnel
The Delhi Commissioner also informed the press that as many as 394 police personnel were injured during the clashes while 30 police vehicles were damaged, adding that the police showed extreme restraint in handling the situation
Blaming the leaders of the farmers' movement for Tuesday's violence, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava on Wednesday claimed they have video evidence that they instigated their followers to breach the pre-approved conditions for protest.
In a press conference, Shrivastava countered claims made by several unions and the farmers' umbrella body Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), that only anti-social elements breached the set protocol.
"Farmer leaders were instigating farmers and they were the ones who were refusing to move on the predetermined routes. They were part of the violent protests. We have videos which are showing how leaders were instigating farmers. From Ghazipur, many from Rakesh Tikait's team broke barriers and marched forward," Shrivastava said as per India Today.
"Butta Singh along with his team indulged in violence at Nangloi junction (near Tikri border). Farmers with Rakesh Tikait indulged in violence at Ghazipur and reached Red Fort," he was quoted as saying by NDTV.
He alleged that farmer leaders Satnam Singh Pannu and Darshan Pal gave inflammatory speeches, after which protesters broke barricades.
He said that clear conditions were laid out to avoid this kind of a situation on the Republic Day, when the Delhi Police usually has to maintain a strict vigil due to the high security nature of the traditional celebrations.
"As per the agreement, we wanted the rally to conclude peacefully. The violence occurred because terms and conditions were not followed," Shrivastava said.
He added that since the Republic Day parade was scheduled, the Delhi Police gave approval for protest based on certain terms and conditions being met.
"But on 25 January, we came to know that they are not going to follow the guidelines. Hardliners had taken controls of the situation and they started their march at 7.30 am from Singhu Border. We have the video footage of those who indulged in the violence and we are analysing them. They are being identified with the help of the facial recognition system. They will be arrested and legal action will be taken against them," Shrivastava said, adding that the march was supposed to start at 12 pm.
"Farmer leaders betrayed the Delhi police. While 50 have been detained in connection with the violence, 19 have been arrested. What the Delhi Police did was because of the intelligence they had," India Today quoted the police chief as saying.
The Delhi Commissioner also stated that as many as 394 police personnel were injured during the clashes while 30 police vehicles were damaged.
He added that the police showed extreme restraint in handling the situation, due to which not a single life was lost. He said that more than 25 criminal cases have been registered and that more names will be revealed upon further investigation of video footage.
So far, as many as 37 farmer leaders including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, have been named in the FIRs, as per PTI.
The case has been registered under various sections of IPC including 147, 148 (related to rioting), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy).
Shrivastava's comments came hours after SKM alleged that a “dirty conspiracy was being hatched” against farmers to malign their movement and push them on the backfoot.
In a statement, the Morcha said: "The Union government has been severely shaken by this peasant agitation. Therefore, a dirty conspiracy was hatched with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and others."
It alleged that these outfits had set up their own separate protest site after 15 days of the beginning of this farmers' agitation. " They were not part of the organisations which jointly undertook the struggle," the statement claimed.
With inputs from PTI
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