The Delhi Police Crime Branch have taken two people from Jammu into custody for their alleged involvement in the incidents of violence on Republic Day’s Tractor Parade late on Monday and shifted them to the national capital.
While 45-year-old Mohinder Singh is a prominent farmer leader and the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir United Kisan Front (JKUKF), the other person arrested was 23-year-old Mandeep Singh. The former is a resident of Chatha in Jammu city and the latter a resident of Gole Gujral village in Jammu.
The Delhi Police has alleged that the two accused were active participants and key conspirators in the Red Fort violence case. “As per the information received both the accused are active participants and key conspirators in the riot at Red Fort. Further investigation is being carried out,” Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said.
As per the Delhi police the arrests were made with the help of the Jammu and Kashmir police. “They were apprehended with the active support of Jammu and Kashmir police,” said the officials.
"Crime Branch has succeeded in tracing and apprehending two key accused from Jammu in Red Fort Riot Case FIR No 96/21 Dated 27.01.21 U/s 147/148/149/152/269/279/186/332/353/307/308/395/397/427/188/34/120B IPC and 25/27 Arms Act PS Kotwali,Delhi," a statement by the crime branch said, detailing the charges filed against the two farmers.
However, both their families have reiterated that they had not been to the Red Fort.
The family of Mohinder Singh, who has been actively participating in the protests and has been at the forefront of the farmers’ struggle from Jammu, termed the allegations “baseless”. Speaking to Newsclick, Singh’s wife, Seerat Kaur, said that her husband was innocent and was “fraudulently” arrested.
“I received a call from my husband at 8 pm to inform me that he has been called by the SSP to Gandhinagar police station and that he will be a little late for dinner. He knew he had not done anything wrong hence he went alone. Half an hour later, his phone was switched off following which we rushed to the police station where we were told that he had been arrested and shifted to Delhi,” she said.
Kaur said that she was with her husband on January 26 and that they were following the pre-approved route decided by the unions. “I was with my husband on January 26 and we were following the approved route set by the unions. None of us entered the Red Fort. There are several eye witnesses who can give you similar accounts. My husband has been falsely arrested because he wants the Farm Laws to be repealed,” she added.
According to Kaur, her entire family has visited protest sites at Delhi’s borders on three occasions since the agitation began. “We have a joint family. Our entire family has visited the border sites as we are farmers and we will be affected by these laws,” she mentioned.
Manpreet Kaur, the sister of Maninder, told Newsclick that her brother had gone to Delhi for some work and had been to the farmers’ protest while he was in the capital. “He had never attended the protest earlier. He had gone to Delhi for some work where he attended the protest as he felt strongly about it. But he never entered the Red Fort. We are shocked and really don’t what’s happening,” she added.
Speaking to Newsclick, an activist from Jammu, who requested anonymity, said: “These arrests are meant to create atmosphere of fear among the people. The Modi government is hell-bent on imposing these laws on us. If these laws are for us and we have openly said that we don’t need them then why are we being forced to?”
On January 26, a small section of farmers deviated from the route decided upon between the farmers’ unions and the Delhi Police and entered the Red Fort, resulting in clashes between police and the protestors. The protests against the Modi government spurred after three contentious Farm Laws were passed in September last year. The farmers have alleged that these laws were “anti-farmer” and would only serve corporate interests.
This is a developing story. It may be updated if further inputs are forthcoming.