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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Protesters attacked cops with swords, looted anti-riot gear: Red Fort FIR

The FIR, one of the 33 registered in connection with the violence during the tractor march, also states that the protesters allegedly tried to snatch MP5 guns and SLRs from policemen, but only snatched 40 live cartridges.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29, 2021 7:38:59 am
Five identified at Red Fort have criminal records in Punjab: probeOn Saturday, a forensic team reached Red Fort to collect evidence. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Close to 1,200 people on 30-40 tractors and around 150 motorcycles and cars allegedly stormed Red Fort, where they chased down and assaulted policemen, looted their anti-riot gear, held some of them hostage inside a public toilet and vandalised the ticket counter, according to an FIR filed in connection with the January 26 chaos at Red Fort.

The FIR, one of the 33 registered in connection with the violence during the tractor march, also states that the protesters allegedly tried to snatch MP5 guns and SLRs from policemen, but only snatched 40 live cartridges.

On Thursday, police said they were making a list of around 200 tractors along with their registration numbers. “We will find the owners with the help of the transport department and summon  them for questioning. We will also try to match their details with the face recognition system,” a senior police officer said.

In a statement released Thursday police said the protesters had a “pre-conceived and well-coordinated” plan to break the agreement between them and the farmer leaders about the three routes for the tractor rally. The protesters further indulged in “violent confrontation with security forces” and breached “sanctity of iconic historical monuments”.

Of the 33 FIRs filed in connection with the January 26 violence, nine will be investigated by the Crime Branch, said Anil Mittal (Additional PRO), Delhi Police, said, adding lookout notices have been issued against 44 protesters and farmer leaders. Police have also written to farmer leaders, asking for details about their organisation’s role in the clashes.

In the FIR, the complainant, SHO (Kotwali) Rituraj, said that when he reached the traffic signal at Shanti Van on Tuesday, after receiving information that farmers in huge numbers were coming from Rajghat on their tractors and private vehicles, the protesters were raising slogans and demanding to go Red Fort.

“They were informed that they were violating the permission, but they broke all the barricades (on the road to Red Fort) in an aggressive manner using their tractors and also tried to mow down policemen… They all reached Lal Qila Chowk, where other anti-social elements were already present, and they were now in thousands. After assaulting policemen, they climbed the ramparts of Red Fort, where they unfurled different flags… They tried to enter Meena Bazar, but police tried to stop them and they got aggressive. They used swords, rods, stones and attacked policemen. They also damaged one bus,” he said.

He also said that when “mild force” was used against the protesters, they got aggressive.

“They attacked police personnel using swords, sticks and farsa. They also threw policemen off the walls with the intention to kill them and looted anti-riot gear. The mob held them hostage inside the public toilet and also vandalised the ticket counter, structure and iron grill,” he alleged.

Police said a UAPA and sedition case filed on January 14 against Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a resident of USA, has been transferred to New Delhi Range to probe a bigger conspiracy angle and to also look into the alleged role of Punjabi film actor Deep Sidhu and Lakhbir Singh Sidhana alias Lakha Sidhana, a gangster-turned-politician and president of the Malwa Youth Federation.

Police said the case was registered after the Special Cell received information from the intelligence agencies that SFJ was trying to infiltrate the farm protests and had announced a reward of Rs 2.5 lakh for hosting the Khalistan flag at India Gate.

Talking to reporters about the damage caused at Red Fort, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said the destruction caused to the monument’s heritage and cultural symbols is far more significant than monetary losses, which are being assessed. “Two metal kalash mounted on top of the monument’s pillars are missing and there has been heavy damage to the entrance,” Patel said, adding that the ASI report on the damage has been submitted to the police for strict action. The ASI had announced that the monument would be shut for the public till January 31. Most of the Republic Day tableaux, which were parked at Red Fort, were also damaged, he said.

With Divya A in New Delhi

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