Republic Day raid was pre-meditated, planned well in advance
Delhi Police officers manning the Singhu and Tikri borders on January 26, when a farmers’ tractor rally got out of hand, may have felt they had gone back in time, with mounted Nihang Sikhs armed with spears and swords leading the charge to disperse the police, paving the way for tractors to remove the barricades en-route to Red Fort.
Delhi Police has sent 30 notices to farmer leaders under various sections of IPC and CrPC, while 66 persons have been arrested. The police have also named the registration numbers of vehicles in the 25-odd FIRs filed by the concerned district police units.
Farm union leaders are now trying to blame the violence on a militant section within or on the Modi government – both without evidence, but top police officials directly involved in the matter are clear that the Republic Day raid was pre-meditated and planned in advance. As many as 271 police personnel were seriously injured on these two borders, with one 9 mm pistol and a gas gun snatched by the agitators from the West Delhi police.
According to eye-witness accounts from senior police officers, the barricade-breaking charge was led by squads of Nihang Sikhs from both the borders and carried out with tractors with either no or hidden number plates using specialised hooks to remove jersey barriers from the road. With Delhi Police under firm orders not to open fire, the armed Nihang Sikhs provided the cover for the tractors to roll towards Red Fort.
“We will be sending notices to all the farmer leaders on Singhu and Tikri borders for the Republic Day violence as all the undertakings agreed for the tractor rally were violated,” said a senior police official. As HT has reported, these include starting the rallies well before the agreed-upon time; deviating from the routes; and indulging in vandalism.
Although para-military forces have been deployed on the two borders to maintain law and order, the Delhi Police’s main focus now is to ensure official engagements such as the beating the Retreat ceremony on Friday (also the first day of Parliament’s winter session) pass without trouble. Strict action is expected to follow after Republic Day ceremonies are complete for no less than 71 government vehicles were badly damaged.