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AAP vs Delhi Police: War over farmer Gajendra's suicide as allegations fly

The Delhi Police have accused the Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders of pushing Rajasthan farmer Gajender Singh into committing suicide and putting all sorts of obstacles in their efforts to rescue him.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2015 01:06 IST
HT Correspondent & Agencies
Gajendra Singh,farmer suicide at AAP rally,farmer suicide

Farmer Gajendra Singh’s shocking suicide at AAP’s kisan rally turned into a bitter confrontation between the police and the ruling party a day later with the cops accusing AAP workers and leaders of “instigating” the act and “obstructing” rescue efforts.

They also refused to join the magisterial probe ordered by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, an action that prompted district magistrate Sanjay Singh to threaten the force with “prosecution if they did not submit documents related to the case” by 11am Friday.

The government, in turn, dared the police to produce evidence supporting the allegations and also warned of legal action. “You (media) saw us requesting the police to rescue him. Please show the truth as to whether we incited anyone,” said AAP leader Kumar Vishwas. A party spokesperson added that Vishwas had made announcements asking the police to intervene.

The party also accused Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who backed the police in Parliament, of “lying”. “It is the Union government’s ploy to target AAP using the Delhi Police,” said spokesperson Sanjay Singh.

However, sources said, AAP leaders acknowledged at a meeting in the morning that continuing with the rally after Singh’s death was possibly an error of judgement.

The city police and AAP have a history of confrontation, having previously clashed over the death of a cop during AAP’s protests against the 16/12 gang rape and Kejriwal’s dharna during his 49-day stint in power.

Gajendra Singh's daughter Megha breaks into tears at the funeral of her father who reportedly commited suicide during AAP rally in Delhi.(Himanshu Vyas/HT)

The latest fight started late Wednesday with the police registering an FIR — based on the complaint of Inspector SS Yadav, who was on duty at the venue — under sections pertaining to abetment of suicide and obstructing a public servant in discharge of public functions. The following day, police chief BS Bassi accused AAP of holding its rally in Jantar Mantar ignoring advice to shift to the larger Ramlila Maidan since over 20,000 people were expected.

The row escalated with DCP Vijay Singh writing to the DM saying he had “no jurisdiction” in the matter. The DM responded citing relevant sections of the law that gave him the power to probe and an instance of a recent suicide in Chanakyapuri where the police had submitted case documents for an inquiry by the SDM.

“If they (police) have nothing to hide, why are they afraid of joining the probe? The DM will continue the investigation and submit a report after taking the statements of eyewitnesses,” said a senior government official.

Video: Blame Kejriwal for continuing rally despite Gajendra's suicide: Deceased farmer's brother

The FIR, meanwhile, said Inspector Yadav called the police control room after seeing “people looking up at a tree and clapping at a man waving a broom”. The fire brigade was also notified with a request for a tall ladder. “Meanwhile, AAP workers continued to incite him by clapping, which finally led him to hang himself,” the FIR stated.

“Some people were trying to climb the tree but we told them the fire brigade has been called… They did not pay heed… During their efforts, the man fell flat on the ground.” Later, AAP volunteers got in the way when the police tried to take Singh to hospital, it added.

The crime branch will be looking at Singh’s call records of the past fortnight and where he stayed in Delhi, sources close to the investigation said. A seven-member team also reached Rajasthan’s Dausa district to speak to his family.

Rajnath Singh promised a “time-bound probe” as raucous scenes played out in Parliament. Amid the blame game, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh urged parties to address the farm community’s problems collectively.

Read: Gajendra suicide: Don't let our farmers die, says PM Modi; Rajnath Singh backs Delhi Police

Read: Farmer suicide during AAP rally kicks up political storm, AAP says police didn't try to save man

First Published: Apr 23, 2015 18:52 IST