Navreet Singh, 27, who died on Tuesday during the protests in Delhi, had recently returned from Australia where he was studying. Officials said his family had no idea that he had joined the protesters at the Capital’s borders.
Several farmers from Bilaspur area of Rampur had travelled to Delhi for the protests, and Navreet, a resident of Dibdiba village in the district, joined the agitation three days ago, officials said. He died when the tractor he was in overturned at ITO in Central Delhi.
A senior Delhi Police officer said, “Some farmers were driving rashly in an attempt to hit us. We saw the tractor hitting the barricades. Our personnel went to rescue him, but a group of agitated farmers stopped them… It is suspected he died because of the accident.” The protesters were sitting with the body and had refused to let the police take it for postmortem till late Tuesday evening.
Manidev Chaturvedi, a farmer from Bilaspur, however, denied the police version. “The police fired a tear gas at Navreet,” he claimed. “One of the shells hit him on the head and he lost control of the steering wheel. The police didn’t even help him.”
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The large group of farmers at ITO had come from the Ghazipur and Singhu borders and were trying to move towards the New Delhi district, the police said. When they were stopped, a group became violent and broke barricades, damaged iron grills and dividers and tried to run over policemen, the officers claimed.
On Tuesday evening, a team of the Rampur district administration and police, which are yet to receive an official confirmation regarding Navreet’s death, met the family, including Navreet’s parents and a younger sister. Navreet got married two years ago and his wife, also a student, is in Australia. A police officer said, “Navreet’s father Sahab Singh told us that local farmers who were part of the protests in Delhi had informed him that his son had died.”
An official said, “The family told us they didn’t know Navreet was in Delhi and protesting with farmers. They said Navreet had left home to meet a relative at Bajpur (in Udham Singh Nagar district, Uttarakhand).”
District Magistrate, Rampur, Aunjaneya Kumar Singh said the family suspects he went to Delhi from Bajpur, adding that they will take further action after they get official confirmation on Navreet’s death.
Circle Officer, Bilaspur, Satish Kumar said, “The family told us that Navreet had returned from Australia, where he was doing his graduation, due to some issues. We are yet to verify the reason.”
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