Republic Day violence: Five identified have criminal records, say cops
At least five people identified at Red Fort during the Republic Day breach reportedly have criminal records in Punjab. Sources told The Indian Express that while some were booked for attempt to murder cases, others were arrested over brawls. On Republic Day (January 26), a crowd of protesters had breached Red Fort during a tractor rally staged by farmers in Delhi.
Months after camping at Delhi's borders, farmers protesting against the central government's agricultural laws had staged a tractor rally on Republic Day. Despite agreeing to a plan for the rally, the protesters broke police barricades and launched the rally early. The police resorted to teargas shelling and baton charging the protesters. Some protesters breached the Red Fort and hoisted a Sikh flag.
According to an FIR filed based on the complaint by Station House Officer (Kotwali) Rituraj, an estimated 1,000 people had stormed the Red Fort on 30-40 tractors and around 150 motorcycles and cars, TIE reported. Thereafter, the accused allegedly chased and assaulted policemen, looted their anti-riot gear, held some cops hostage inside a public toilet, and vandalized the ticket counter, the FIR added.
A source told TIE, "Details on the background of five-six of them have been verified with Punjab Police. Some have an attempt to murder case in the past, while others have been arrested over brawls." Raids are on to arrest them while the police collect more evidence, sources said. 38 cases have been registered and 84 have been arrested," Additional PRO Anil Mittal said.
A forensic team reached Red Fort on Saturday. A senior cop told TIE that they have recovered 1,700 CCTV clips and a team from Forensic University, Gujarat, has been called to analyze the footage. Investigators are also trying to trace tractors using their registration numbers, a senior police officer said, adding that the owners will be traced and summoned for questioning.
In a statement on Thursday, the police alleged that the protesters had a "pre-conceived and well-coordinated" plan to breach the agreement signed between the farmer leaders and the police for the tractor rally. The police has also issued a Lookout Notice against several farmer leaders. Their passports will be seized in the coming days, a senior police officer said.