Evading arrest for five months, a 26-year-old man who allegedly hoisted a religious flag at the Red Fort during the violence on Republic Day has been nabbed from Punjab by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police, officials said on Wednesday. The accused Buta Singh was carrying a reward of Rs 50,000, they said and claimed that his family and neighbours tried to stop a police team from arresting him when it reached his native village on Tuesday.
Police said Singh was present at the Red Fort during the violence that occurred at a tractor rally against the Centre's new agri laws and had claimed to have hoisted the religious flag at the Fort. The arrest came days after another accused in the Red Fort violence case, Gurjot Singh, who was carrying a reward of Rs one lakh, was held near Gurudwara Shri Toot Sahib in Amritsar by the Special Cell.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Monika Bhardwaj said, We received specific information about Buta Singh and a team was sent to Punjab which managed to trace him. Subsequently, a raid was conducted at his village in Talwandi Sobha Singh. But our raiding team had to face strong resistance from his family and neighbours who tried to get Singh out of police custody. They tried to block roads with their tractors but with the help of local police, our team finally managed to come out from the village along with accused Singh, she said.
Singh was seen in a video along with his associates at Red Fort in which they claimed they have hoisted the religious flag at the main flag hoisting area, the officer said. During interrogation, he disclosed that he was radicalised by seeing Facebook posts of various groups. He used to frequently visit Singhu Border and was highly motivated by speeches made by the leaders there, she said.
According to police, as per their plan, Singh with his five-six associates and other unknown armed miscreants entered Red Fort and created mayhem there. "His act of hoisting the flag had motivated already violent protesters to cause more mayhem at Red Fort by indulging in all sorts of violence against personnel on duty including policemen deployed for Republic Day security duty there and damaging the historical monument of Red Fort," the senior police officer said.
Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre's new agri laws had clashed with the police during the tractor parade on January 26. Many of the protesters, driving tractors, reached the Red Fort and entered the monument. Some protesters even hoisted religious flags on its ramparts, where the national flag is unfurled on Independence Day.