The young man detained on Friday by farmers at Singhu on the Delhi border – who accuse him of conspiring to incite violence during their proposed Republic Day tractor rally in Delhi – alleged today that he was “tortured” while in their custody, Haryana Police DGP Manoj Yadav said.
The police were told that two others were still with the farmers and being “beaten mercilessly”.
Mr Yadav also said allegations the police had trained a team to infiltrate the farmers’ camp – to sow discord and assassinate key figures before the Republic Day parade – were “baseless”.
“The farmers are levelling baseless allegations of police sending youth to disrupt their agitation. The suspected youth was tortured by the farmers… he has thrashing marks on his back. He also told us farmers have detained two more men and have beaten them mercilessly,” DGP Yadav said.
The young man was caught late Friday evening and turned over to the police on Saturday. He claimed to have been trained by a policeman to disrupt the farmers’ Republic Day event and break up a protest that has rumbled on for over 60 days.
“Our plan was that on January 26…from the first line, a gun will be fired when Delhi Police tries to stop (the tractor rally). The orders are to first try and stop them (farmers). If they don’t stop, the orders are to fire at them,” he told reporters Saturday night with his face covered.
“On 24th, the plan is to shoot the four people on stage…” he added, naming a SHO from a Haryana police station. That name, however, was not of the policeman assigned there.
He said the “team of infiltrators” included two women.
Meanwhile, Mr Yadav also insisted that Haryana Police – who were severely criticised in November and December last year after using excessive force to try and stop farmers from Punjab and neighbouring states from marching to the national capital – would not stop anybody this time.
“Nobody will be stopped from marching to Delhi,” he said, while also cautioning that “maximum precautions” would be taken to prevent any disruption to Republic Day programmes in the state.
The senior police officer’s comment comes as the farmers’ proposed tractor rally – which is expected to see around one thousand tractors wind their way around Delhi’s Ring Road as Republic Day celebrations take place – comes ever closer.
Delhi Police, which has been instructed by the Supreme Court to take the final call on allowing the rally, is expected to announce its decision today. The court, which has upheld the farmers’ right to peaceful protests, was told that the rally would prove an “embarrassment for the nation”.
Last week the Supreme Court also put implementation of the agriculture laws on hold, and set up a committee of experts to resolve the long-standing dispute.
Farmers have turned down a proposal to suspend the laws for 18 months.
They insist – as they have since their protests began over 60 days ago – that all three laws must be scrapped and that the centre provide legal guarantees for MSP (minimum support price).
The centre, which is equally insistent that the laws will benefit farmers, has said it will offer only written guarantees for MSP and that the laws will remain, although it is open to amendments.
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