Delhi Police have filed an FIR and assigned the crime branch to probe the suicide of Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan who hanged himself from a tree at an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally in Jantar Mantar on Wednesday. He was later declared brought dead at a city hospital.
The FIR has been registered under IPC sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging duty) against unknown persons.
Describing the suicide of the farmer at his rally venue as “an extremely sad incident”, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter. The Delhi government has asked the district magistrate of the area (New Delhi district) to probe the entire incident.
Special commissioner of police (law and order) Deepak Mishra confirmed the registration of FIR. He said that an inquiry by an officer of the level of joint commissioner had begun. Joint commissioner of New Delhi range, Mukesh Meena, had been appointed to inquire into the incident. Meena will probe the role of police officers at the spot.
Rajasthan farmer commits suicide at AAP rally: Here's how the tragic event unfolded
Police said the AAP too had flouted rules by getting a gathering of more than 5,000 people. On Tuesday, New Delhi DCP Vijay Singh had written to AAP member Neeraj Kumar asking him to shift the venue of the protest to Ramlila Maidan in view of intelligence reports that their gathering was estimated to be around 20,000.
Police said that they had not granted permission to the AAP to hold the gathering at Jantar Mantar. Police said they would take statements of eyewitnesses to probe if Singh was instigated to end his life. Police will probe the role of the volunteers who stopped the officers at the spot from taking the victim in their ambulance.
“It was so confusing. The man was hanging from the tree and people on the stage were asking others to maintain order. They seemed to be trying to help, but I just fail to understand why they didn’t end the rally as soon as the man hung himself,” said Pankaj Sharma, a resident of Laxmi Nagar who had gone to attend the AAP's farmer rally.
Even as news of the death of Singh spread, hundreds of people like Sharma wondered why the rally went on despite the sad turn of events.
Social networking websites were abuzz with remarks from people who questioned whether political mileage was more important than the life of a farmer.
“The man died in front of everyone and yet a group of teachers continued their chants against Arvind Kejriwal and speakers on the stage continued to talk about how sad it was that the farmer had to die. Within minutes, people forgot that a man had killed himself in front of their eyes,” said Nirmal Kanwal, who had come from Maharashtra.
Insensitive statements started soon after. Cornered, AAP leaders put their foot in their mouths repeatedly.
While senior leader Ashutosh said party members and volunteers were not trained to scale walls and sarcastically remarked that Kejriwal should have climbed the tree to save Gajendra, Sanjay Singh said even the BJP has continued with its rally in Patna despite bomb threats.
Party MLA from Malviya Nagar Somnath Bharti tweeted that the suicide was a conspiracy.
Later, Ashutosh apologised for the statement and Bharti deleted his tweet. According to party spokespersons, cutting short the rally was not feasible as the crowd was incensed.
“Had we ended the rally, commotion would have ensued. We were on the stage managing the crowd. If he hadn’t done that it could have become a stampede,” Singh said.
Twitter, however, reacted harshly, rejecting the party’s statement and asking why the party didn’t have a more humane response. The CM, meanwhile, condoled Gajendra’s death and said the matter will be looked into.