ASI files FIR in Red Fort violence, crime branch to probe the case
At 12.10pm on Tuesday, when Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials and CISF personnel were receiving the tableaux coming from the Republic Day Parade, the first group of about 200 protesters and 25 tractors tried to push their way into the Red Fort through the Lahori Gate, according to the first information report (FIR) filed by the ASI on Saturday in connection with the vandalism at the monument on January 26.
On Tuesday, several groups among thousands of farmers who were camping at Delhi’s border demanding withdrawal of three new farm laws, arrived at the Red Fort without warning and in violation of the terms of their tractor rally, and clashed with police. They also allegedly inflicted extensive damage at the monument. Union tourism and culture minister Prahlad Singh Patel visited the fort on Wednesday along with the ASI director general and directed registration of an FIR.
HT has seen the FIR filed by the Superintending Archaeologist of India. The FIR has been transferred to the crime branch for investigation. This was the second case filed in the incident at Red Fort, the first one was filed by the police.
The FIR details the siege by the protesters, damage to the property and the response by the security forces at the Unesco World Heritage Site.
According to the FIR, between 12.10pm and 1.10pm, about 300 protesters and 25 tractors tried to enter the fort thrice through the Lahori Gate but teams of Delhi police and CISF neutralised them by locking the gate.
Around 1 pm, large groups of protesters on motorcycles and tractors started coming to Red Fort from the Subhash Marg. “…They then joined the mob gathered there and forced open the gate. The security personnel were completely outnumbered,” the FIR read, adding that the mob then damaged the ticket counter, door metal frame detector, and the baggage scanners.
The ASI said that the mob then turned towards Lahori gate entrance, which had been “firmly secured with an iron chain and lock”.
“The mob climbed over this iron door, jumped inside, and broke the chain lock with the help of iron tools they were carrying…the security personnel could not resist the mob. While doing so they broke the inner gate…Once inside a section of the mob broke the electrical fittings and the stone casing around them. A bus placed as a barricade by the CISF was also damaged,” reads the FIR.
The ASI official said that three tractors managed to reach inside the fort. “…A section of the mob then charged towards the ramparts and forcefully hoisted a flag on the pole where the Prime Minister hoists the flag on Independence Day,” the FIR read.
A police officer, who wished not to be named, said they have identified a man named Jugraj Singh from Tarn Taran in Punjab as the one who hoisted a farmers’ union flag and a religious flag at the fort’s ramparts. Investigators are identifying protesters from 1500 video clips.