Updated: February 27, 2021 5:29:01 am
IN RESPONSE to a petition seeking a probe by a Special Investigation Team into the death of a 25-year-old man during the January 26 farmers’ tractor rally, Delhi Police Friday told the Delhi High Court that none of the footage recovered by it shows firing by any policeman at the spot. It further said protesters had “spread rumours” that the man, Navreet Singh, was killed in police firing.
Uttar Pradesh Police also told the court that X-ray plates viewed by doctors at Rampur district hospital “prima facie showed there was no gunshot injury” in Singh’s body.
“As per the opinion of the panel of doctors conducting post-mortem, the cause of death of Navreet Singh is shock and haemorrhage as a result of ante-mortem head injury. The death is not due to any gunshot injury,” said SHO, Bilaspur police station, in the reply to the court. UP authorities have also denied that doctors made any statement related to the case in the media or public.
Navreet, according to police, died in an accident; footage shows his tractor ramming into barricades and overturning. The petition filed by his grandfather Hardeep Singh (69), through advocates Vrinda Grover and Soutik Banerjee, citing media reports, said Navreet was shot by policemen due to which he lost control of the tractor.
Delhi Police, in its separate reply to the petition, said: “… Protesters became violent and started driving tractors in a very dangerous manner so as to crush personnel on duty with the intention to kill them. Protesters kept trying to move towards New Delhi district and attacked policemen with iron rods, stones and dandas despite repeated warnings given to them.” Police said Navreet was driving his tractor at high speed when it “hit
the barricade” on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in front of Andhra Education Society.
A total of 86 police personnel and other eyewitnesses were examined during investigation and they all have “unequivocally” stated that Navreet’s death was caused “by the accident due to his dangerous driving”, police further said.
The tractor was towed away from the spot by another tractor, according to police. Efforts are on to trace the particular tractor and its owner.
Police also said that when Navreet was being pulled out from the tractor by personnel, other protesters on tractors tried to run over them due to which they had to retreat. It also said staff deployed in PCR vans near ITO could not reach the “accident site” as protesters were armed with “sticks, naked swords, steel/iron rods and stones”. Instead of taking him to the hospital, police alleged, the protesters kept his body on the road for about five hours.
“CCTV footage from two cameras installed at the gate of the school (Andhra Education Society) clearly show that the driver driving the tractor at a very high speed hit the barricades, and policemen threatened due to high speed of tractors coming on DDU Marg were running for their safety,” the reply reads.
Police also said a CATS ambulance reached the Society’s main gate at 1.55 pm but “was pushed back by armed protesters”. It also said another ambulance reached the spot later, which was stopped initially and later allowed to leave without the man. The body was taken away by protesters at about 2.26 pm towards ITO, it adds.
The petition filed by Hardeep alleges that Navreet was lying in a critically injured condition under the overturned tractor but no attempts were made by Delhi Police to provide immediate critical medical intervention. This hasty, unverified and unsubstantiated claim by Delhi Police, without conducting any enquiry or investigation, casts a dark shadow on its own fairness and integrity, the plea argues.
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