Case under UAPA, sedition charges after R-Day violence

Case under UAPA for violence during tractor rally, look out notices against farmer leaders

The farmer leaders have also been asked to surrender their passports

Credit: Reuters Photo

Delhi Police has filed a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and slapped sedition charges in connection with the violence in Red Fort and other places during the farmers'  tractor rally on Republic Day besides issuing lookout notices against farmer leaders who have been named in FIRs related to violence.

As part of the investigations, police will also look into the role played by organisations abroad, as it felt that there was a"pre-conceived and well-coordinated plan" to trigger violence and create "international embarrassment" for the government on the occasion of Republic Day.

A move has also been initiated to ask the farmer leaders named in the FIR to surrender their passports.

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The decisions were taken following a series of meetings chaired by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah since Tuesday after the violence during the tractor rally on January 26, officials said. Directives have been given to the Delhi Police to take immediate actions against the accused, they said.

In other developments, police also deployed more personnel near Ghazipur and Singhu borders prompting farmers organisations to claim that authorities are planning to evict them. Amid reports of protesters leaving Ghazipur border, leaders like Hannan Mollah, Rakesh Tikait and KK Ragesh MP visited the protest site where farmers resolved to continue the protest.

The UP Police had served an ultimatum to protesters at Ghazipur to vacate the border while there were demands allegedly from locals that the protesters leave the spot.

In a statement, a Delhi Police spokesperson said its elite unit Special Cell is investigating the "conspiracy and criminal designs" behind the "unfortunate events" and is being investigated under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of Indian Penal Code dealing with sedition.

"The role and conduct of organisations and individuals based in India as well as those out of the country is being probed," the spokesperson said.

Though it did not name any outfit, Delhi Police had earlier said that organisations linked to Khalistanis were fuelling the protests through misleading social media posts. It had also said that it had identified 308 Twitter handles generated by Pakistan, which were propagating Khalistan propaganda during the farmers' protest.

Also read — After tractor rally chaos, Modi govt's patience with farmer protests is running thin

"A preliminary assessment suggests there was a preconceived and well-coordinated plan to break the agreement reached between Delhi Police and the leaders of farmers organisations, to indulge in violent confrontation with security forces to breach the sanctity of historical structures/monuments etc and to create international embarrassment for the government on the occasion of Republic Day," it added.

Police had earlier registered a case against actor Deep Sidhu and gangster-turned-social activist Lakha Sidhana in connection with the Red Fort incident.

Look out notices, which are used to prevent an accused from leaving the country, have already been issued, police officials said. Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar are among 37 farmer leaders, who were named in the FIR, which has invoked sections related to attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code.

Farmer leaders like Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Chanduni, Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Satnam Singh Pannu, Joginder Singh Ugraha, Surjeet Singh Phool, Jagjeet Singh Dalewal, Balbir Singh Rajewal and Harinder Singh Lakhoval have also been named in the FIR.

Shah has been continuously monitoring the situation in Delhi and held meetings even late in the night on Wednesday and again early on Thursday.

Delhi Police has so far registered 25 FIRs, including against 37 of the 40 farm union leaders who were involved in talks with the Centre.

On Thursday, Shah also visited three hospitals to enquire about the health of policemen injured in the violence. Around 400 policemen were injured during the incident. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava accompanied the home minister.