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Family of farmer who died during tractor rally approaches Delhi HC for SIT probe

Citing media reports and eyewitness accounts, the family said it’s sufficient reason not to accept the “self serving conclusion of the Delhi Police”. The case will be taken up for hearing on Thursday.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 11, 2021 2:07:06 am
farmer death, tractor rally, republic day violence, farmers protest, Delhi HC, SIT probe, Delhi news, Indian express newsNavreet Singh

THE FAMILY of a 25-year-old farmer, who died during the tractor rally on January 26, has approached the Delhi High Court seeking a time-bound and court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team into his death. Citing media reports and eyewitness accounts, the family said it’s sufficient reason not to accept the “self serving conclusion of the Delhi Police”. The case will be taken up for hearing on Thursday.

According to Delhi Police, Navreet Singh died in an accident at ITO when his tractor rammed barricades and overturned, and not because of any firing. In the petition filed through advocates Vrinda Grover and Soutik Banerjee, 69-year-old Hardeep Singh cited media reports to allege that Navreet, his grandson, was shot by policemen due to which he lost control of the tractor, which then collided with barricades and overturned.

Hardeep, in the petition, said Navreet was lying in a critically injured condition under the overturned tractor but no attempts were made by the Delhi Police to provide immediate medical intervention. “No efforts were made by the Delhi Police to cordon off the site…and to collect time sensitive material evidence from the site, which was allowed to be erased and destroyed,” the petition alleges, adding the police instead fired teargas to prevent other protesters from reaching the spot.

The petition also states that the incident was captured on multiple CCTV cameras including those installed by Andhra Education Society near ITO and alleges that Delhi Police cited “technical difficulties” to prevent the viewing of the footage. It also alleges that 20 policemen had removed the DVR from Andhra Education Society’s CCTV storage and taken it into custody without disclosing their identity.

“On 26.01.2021 itself, without any inquest proceedings under Section 174 CrPC and even before a post-mortem was carried out, the Delhi Police declared that Navreet Singh died due to an accident… To bolster their claim, a video was also released by Delhi Police of the tractor overturning, which in no way is sufficient to rule out that Navreet Singh was shot…, as stated by eyewitnesses,” the plea reads. The post-mortem was carried out at District Hospital Rampur in UP on January 27. It was photographed but the same was not shared with his family, the petition alleges. Even X-Ray reports were not provided to the petitioner’s family, Hardeep has said in the petition.

Last month, Rampur SP Shogun Gautam had said that the post-mortem shows severe head injuries, and the report has “completely ruled out bullet injuries”. Rampur District Magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh had said: “The family was present during the post-mortem. If he had a bullet injury, it would have come out in the report.” He said that postmortem was videographed and was conducted by a panel of two doctors and monitored by the district Chief Medical Officer.

The petition also states that the registration of FIR against senior journalists in connection with reporting of Navreet’s death convinced Hardeep that Delhi Police “would thwart a fair investigation”.

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