Why were no questions were raised on Republic Day violence, asked Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava in a rebuttal to those criticising intense barricading on borders adjoining the capital amid the farmers’ protest.
Opposition parties, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi have questioned the barricading being carried out at the borders where farmers have been protesting for four to five months. Gandhi on Tuesday asked the Centre to “build bridges and not walls”.
Security has been stepped up with the deployment of extra personnel and strengthening of barricades near farmers’ protest sites at Delhi’s borders, leading to traffic congestions on many key roads in the national capital.
Workers under the watch of police personnel on Monday were seen hooking iron rods between two rows of cement barriers on a flank of the main highway at the Singhu border to further restrict the movement of protesters agitating against the Centre’s new farm laws at the site. Another portion of the highway at the Delhi-Haryana border is practically blocked now as a makeshift cement wall has come up there.
Security has also been tightened at the Delhi-Ghazipur border, where protesting farmers are also camping for over two months.
“I’m surprised that when tractors were used, Police was attacked, barricades were broken on 26th (January) no questions were raised. What did we do now? We’ve just strengthened barricading so that it’s not broken again," Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivastava told ANI, when asked about the barricading at Delhi borders.
I’m surprised that when tractors were used, Police was attacked, barricades were broken on 26th no questions were raised. What did we do now? We’ve just strengthened barricading so that it’s not broken again: Delhi Police Commissioner when asked about barricading at Delhi borders pic.twitter.com/FQkI1qZ75q— ANI (@ANI) February 2, 2021
Meanwhile, a day after photos of policemen armed with metal lathis and large arm guards surfaced online, the Delhi Police put out a disclaimer saying the policemen took the initiative on their own and no formal orders have been given for any new metal armoury. It also asked the police unit in question to explain their action.
The photos emerged after a policeman got injured while trying to subdue a man – reported to be a farmer – who was wielding a sword at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border. In an apparent attempt to defend themselves from such swords seen during the farmers’ protest, photos shared widely on social media showed several policemen from the Shahada unit in the metal armoury on Sunday.
Farmer unions on Monday announced a countrywide ‘chakka jam’ on February 6 when they would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.
The Haryana government on Tuesday evening extended the suspension of mobile internet services, SMS and all dongle services on mobile networks except voice calls in Kaithal, Panipat, Jind, Rohtak, Charkhi Dadri, Sonipat and Jhajjar till 5 pm on February 3.
Farmer union Sanyukta Kisan Andolan also announced that the legal committee formed to probe the cases of “more than a hundred protesting farmers that have been missing since January 26" will be sharing its findings in a press conference at 8 pm on Tuesday at the Singhu border.
The Centre on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that protesting farmers “aggressively" resorted to rioting, damage to property and used “criminal force" against public servants during their tractor ‘parade’ here on January 26 leaving the Delhi police with no option but to use tear gas, water cannons and mild force to control the crowd. The Lok Sabha was also informed that 39 cases were registered between September and December 2020 against farmers protesting against the three contentious agri laws at Delhi’s borders.
In a written reply, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also said the protesting farmers were not following social distancing and gathered in large numbers without face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On police using tear gas and resorting to baton charge against the protesting farmers, the minister said it has been reported that at Delhi borders, large convoys of agitating farmers in tractor trolleys tried to furiously force their way and go past police barricades to enter Delhi in connection with their tractor ‘parade’ on Republic Day on January 26.