The Delhi Police on Wednesday said that the farmers violated the conditions agreed upon, which led to violence in the national capital. Addressing a press conference, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava said that the police personnel had all the options, but chose to show restraint.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha had said on January 2 that their supporters will hold a tractor rally on January 26. We contacted the farmer leaders and at least five rounds of meetings were held. We had initially told them not to hold rally on Republic Day, but they refused and insisted on holding a rally that day,” said Shrivastava.
The Delhi Police chief said that farmer leaders were given the option to hold the rally at Kundli-Manesar Expressway with an assurance of security and media coverage.
“But they insisted on holding the rally in Delhi. So, we agreed on three routes – first from Singhu which had a distance of 63 km, second from Tikri border for 74 km and from Ghazipur for allowed 44 km. Yesterday, Delhi was celebrating Republic Day so we laid down terms and conditions with the permission,” said Shrivastava.
Giving details about the agreement with the protesters, he said that the farmers were told to start the rally after 12 noon and not to carry any firearms or swords. Shrivastava also said that the number of tractors were capped at 5,000.
“After giving written permission with these conditions, they gave an understanding. But on the evening of January 25, we learnt that they are not agreeing to these conditions,” the Delhi Police chief said.
“Aggressive people took control of their stage. At 7.30 am, farmers at Singhu started the march. Their leader Satnam Singh Pannu made provocative speeches. The farmers then broke barricades,” added Shrivastava.
The Delhi top cop also lauded the police force for showing restraint during the violence yesterday.
“We maintained restraint. We had all options but chose to show restraint. We chose restraint because we did not want loss of lives. There was an agreement between us, the violence was a result of them not following rules. All farmers leaders are responsible for it,” said Shrivastava.
Giving details about the injuries sustained by the cops, he said that 394 police personnel are injured and some of them are in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of various hospitals.
“We have taken this case seriously. We have video footage of people who carried out violence. We are using facial recognition system to arrest them and take action. So far, 25 criminal cases have been registered. No one will be spared,” said Shrivastava.
He also said that farmer leaders will also be questioned.