A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a judicial inquiry into the unprecedented violence in Delhi after the farmers’ Republic Day tractor parade spiraled into chaos on Tuesday. The plea has also sought a direction to the concerned authority to lodge an FIR under relevant penal provisions against the individuals or organisations responsible for the violence and causing dishonour of the National Flag at Red Fort.
Breaking away from the designated route for the rally, hundreds of protestors wielding sticks and clubs and holding the tricolour and union flags, felled barriers at the borders, clashed with police, and entered the city from various points to lay siege to the Red Fort and climb the flagpole on Republic Day on Tuesday.
Police also had to use lathicharge and teargas shells to control unruly protesters at multiple locations in the city. At most places, the policemen appeared outnumbered and had to retreat as the protesters advanced.
The plea, filed in the apex court by advocate Vishal Tiwari, has said that a three-member inquiry commission under the chairmanship of a former top court judge and comprising of two retired high court judges should be set up for collecting and recording evidence in the matter and submit a report to the court in a time-bound manner.
It said there may be some conspiracy by some “notorious forces or organizations” to cause disturbance and damage the peaceful protest and create clash between police and protesting farmers. “The matter is serious because when the protest was going on peacefully for last two months then suddenly, how it turned into violent movement and led violence on January 26. The question for consideration in national security and public interest arises that who is responsible for creating the disturbance and how and who turned the peaceful farmer protest into violent movement or how and who created the circumstances which let the protest turn violent,” it said.
During the clash, one protester died when his tractor overturned while ramming a road barrier at ITO, and scores were injured, among them at least 200 police personnel, as mobs resorted to violence and vandalism while forcing their way in.
At night, the Red Fort was secured, the flags removed and protesters made to vacate the premises. Officials said a “serious assessment” of the day’s events was underway even as authorities brought in reinforcements. Additional forces from paramilitary units were being deployed and Internet services were suspended in the areas of Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and adjoining areas for 12 hours to “restore order”.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation of farmer unions – the majority from Punjab — spearheading the protests, distanced itself from the groups that had forced their way into the Capital.