The Delhi Police have arrested a 30-year-old mechanic for his alleged role in the violence that erupted at the Red Fort last month during the farmers’ tractor rally, PTI reported on Wednesday.
At least one protestor was killed and over 300 police officers were injured after thousands of farmers on tractors, horses and on foot took to the streets of Delhi on Republic Day to call for the repeal of contentious new agriculture laws. Protestors broke through barricades and poured into the city, clashing with a police force that tried to push them back with tear gas and a baton charge.
Maninder Singh has been accused of swinging swords that “motivated” the protesters. The police have recovered two swords from his residence in Swaroop Nagar, according to ANI. He was arrested on Tuesday around 7.45 pm near the CD block bus stop in Pitampura.
“Singh was seen in a video swinging two swords at Red Fort with intent to motivate or radicalise and energise the violent anti-national elements indulging in brutal assault or attack on police persons on duty with swords, iron rods, axes, sticks, etc, and damaging historical monument Red Fort on Republic Day,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwah said.
According to the police, Singh has disclosed that he was “radicalised” after seeing provocative Facebook posts on various groups. They said the accused used to frequently visit Singhu border and was “highly motivated” by speeches delivered there, without elaborating how it pushed Singh to allegedly turn violent.
The police said Singh runs a sword-training school near his home and he had “motivated” six people in Swaroop Nagar area. “All six of them, riding upon bikes, had accompanied tractor rally of farmers heading from Singhu border towards Mukarba Chowk on 26/01/2021,” a press release said. “As per their plan, accused along with his five associates and other unknown armed miscreants entered in Red Fort and Maninder did sword dancing/swinging. That sword dancing had motivated violent protesters to cause more mayhem at Red Fort...”
A video of him purportedly swinging swords at Red Fort on Republic Day has been found in his mobile phone, the police said. Investigation is underway in the case.