New Delhi: Briefing about the ongoing investigation into the Republic Day violence, Delhi CP SN Shrivastava on Friday, said that 152 people have been arrested till date, in connection with the case. Ruling out an intelligence failure, he said that farm union leaders who were named in their cases have responded to their summons.
Lauding Delhi police’s restraint, he said that while police showed restraint, farmers ‘betrayed’ them by not following the designated route and resorting to violence. This investigation is apart from the arrest made in the ‘Toolkit’ probe, which is investigating a conspiracy into the R-Day violence.
Despite Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)’s assurance and Delhi Police’s conditions for the Republic Day tractor march, violence broke out on January 26, as the farmers entered Delhi – breaking barricades and cemented barriers, riding bikes brandishing swords, sticks and vandalising a bus, drove tractors at full speed towards the police – leading to clashes with Delhi police.
As teargas shells, lathicharge was used, police claimed that over 500 personnel were injured and one protestor died after a tractor upturned. The most shocking act was when a group of farmers allegedly led by actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu breached the Red Fort and hoisted the ‘Nishan Sahib’ and the Kisan Union flag atop the Red Fort’s dome and the Khalsa flag on the flag pole. Delhi police have fortified the city borders by cementing nails near barricades at Ghazipur (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh) and Tikri (Delhi-Haryana) borders.
With the dip in farmers’ protest after the 26 January violence and Red Fort incident, Muzaffarnagar Jat farm leader – Rakesh Tikait re-energized the protest as he called for farmers to head to Ghazipur, while breaking down on camera saying, “I will commit suicide, but won’t vacate the protest site”. His ardent plea evoked a massive response with thousands of farmers camping at Ghazipur. Tikait’s call was in response to the Yogi government’s order to vacate the Ghazipur protest site within 24 hours – cutting off water, electricity, and internet. After Tikait’s breakdown at Ghazipur due to Yogi govt’s diktat to ‘vacate Ghazipur protest site’, politicians thronged Ghazipur border with politicians like Abhay Singh Chautala, Chaudhary Ajit Singh, Sanjay Singh, Arvind Kejriwal, Abhay Singh Chautala, Hanuman Beniwal Ajay Lallu and Sanjay Raut backing Tikait.
After 11 rounds of Centre-farmer talks, the two parties failed to reach a middle ground with the associations refusing to agree to the Centre’s proposal for suspending the three laws for 1.5 years.
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