‘A year on, no clarity on R-Day violence cases’

Protesting farmers turned violent at the Red Fort on January 26, 2021.

Protesting farmers turned violent at the Red Fort on January 26, 2021.

Over a month after farmer leaders were promised quashing of police complaints on the violence that erupted in the national capital on Republic Day last year, no update has been received on that front, said a lawyer representing the farmers.

Speaking to The Hindu , advocate Jasdeep Dhillon said those who were either arrested at that time or had received notices to join the investigation keep calling him for help. “About 200 protesters were arrested at that time and about 200 received notices. All arrested persons are now out on bail but they want to know the status of the cases. We have heard nothing from either the government or the police about what’s happening with the FIRs,” he said, adding that the Haryana government had initiated a move to withdraw the cases and sent letters to all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police in this regard.

A senior officer from the Crime Branch said they have not yet received any communication from the government regarding the withdrawal of prosecution.

Red Fort march

On January 26 last year, farmers protesting against the now-repealed farm laws had sought permission to hold the tractor rally on a route specified by the police, but they marched to the Red Fort instead and hoisted the Nishan Sahib — a triangular flag sacred to the Sikhs — there leading to a clash between the security personnel and the protesters.

The same day, protesters also reached central Delhi and vandalised public property in the Income Tax office (ITO) area. The police had to use force to control the situation. A protester, identified as Navreet Singh, died in the ruckus at ITO. His family said he was shot dead by the police but the security agency said he died after his tractor overturned. “His post-mortem report had stated that he died of a blunt force injury and not a bullet injury,” a senior police officer said.

According to advocate Dhillon, over 50 cases were registered between January 26 and 29, including two cases on the Red Fort incident and one on the central Delhi violence. The remaining cases mostly pertained to the rioting reported on the day. A senior police officer said about 14 cases were transferred to the Crime Branch at the time of the investigation and chargesheet has been framed in one case.

An officer said the Central government had sought details of the FIRs and the ongoing probe in the cases when talks were on between them and the farmers.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 11:08:06 pm |