New Delhi: Delhi Police on Wednesday alleged that farmer leaders made inflammatory speeches and were involved in the violence during the tractor parade by agitating farmers that left 394 of its personnel injured, as it warned that no culprit will be spared.
Addressing a press conference here, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivastava said farmer unions did not follow conditions set for the rally that was supposed to be held from 12 PM to 5 PM with 5,000 tractors and accused them of betrayal.
He stressed that not a single life was lost as the Delhi Police showed extreme restraint, adding that farmer leaders will be questioned in connection with the violence.
“Police had many options but remained calm. We dealt with the situation in a proper way that is why no one was killed due to police action during the tractor rally violence,” Shrivastava told reporters.
As many as 25 criminal cases have been registered and 19 people arrested so far, Srivastava said. Fifty protestors have been detained.
An official said that violence during tractor rally will be investigated by a joint team of crime branch, special cell and district units of Delhi Police.
The tractor parade on Tuesday that was to highlight the demands of the farmer unions to repeal the three new agriculture laws descended into anarchy as protesters deviated from routes, attacked police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag on the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
The commissioner said the force was taking the Red Fort incident seriously.
“We are using the facial recognition system and taking the help of CCTV and video footage to identify the accused. Strict action will be taken against those identified. No culprit will be spared,” he said.
He alleged that some farmer leaders like Satnam Singh Pannu and Darshan Pal gave inflammatory speeches. Thereafter protesters broke barricades.
By January 25 evening, it became clear that they were not keeping their words. They brought forward the aggressive and militant elements who occupied the stage and delivered provocative speeches, he said.
According to him, some protestors started breaking barricades at 6.30 AM at the Singhu border point while they were supposed to take out their march at 12 noon.
From Ghazipur and Tikri border points, farmers also started breaking police barricades at 8.30 AM, he said, adding that at Nangloi crossing, farmer leader Boota Singh sat there at 8.30 AM while other protestors overturned a big container which was stationed as part of preventive measures.
He said that 394 police personnel were injured while 30 police vehicles and 428 barricades were damaged in the violence on Wednesday.
He said that police held five rounds of meetings with farmer leaders before the tractor rally and finally, it was decided that farmer leaders would hold their tractor parade only after the official Republic Day parade.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has named 37 farmer leaders, including Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar and Rakesh Tikait, in an FIR in connection with the violence.
Police said their role will be investigated.
The FIR mentions multiple IPC sections, including 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 353 (assault/criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy).