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‘Mayhem would have ensued if we had retaliated’: Injured cops (IANS Special)

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By Ashish Srivastava

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) On Republic Day, the tractor rally by protesting farmers demanding repealing of the three contentious farm laws witnessed clashes at several points in the national capital.

Clashes broke out in multiple places, leading to violence at well-known landmarks of Delhi and its suburbs, amid waves of violence that ebbed and flowed through the day, resulting in a huge number of casualties on both sides.

As per an estimate by Delhi Police, nearly 400 police personnel received injuries and around 100 had to be hospitalised for a day or two. A protester also died after his tractor overturned near ITO in central Delhi.

The patience Delhi Police showed while dealing with the agitating group of farmers controlled the number of injuries. IANS spoke to a few of those severely injured who said that if the police force had retaliated, the number of casualties would have been far greater on both sides.

“We were instructed by our seniors to be patient and pacify them (agitated farmers) since they outnumbered us. Had we not kept our calm in that situation and retaliated with force, the casualties would have been greater and grave on both sides,” said Delhi Police constable Sandeep Kumar.

Kumar was deployed at the Red Fort on that day. Recalling the incident, he said that thousands of farmers riding tractors suddenly emerged and thronged the fort and charged against him. “I was isolated from my teammates and was surrounded by a large group of angry farmers that attacked me with sticks and rods. One person attacked me with a sword but I dodged and it passed over my head,” he recalled.

Kumar has sustained multiple injuries on his body and fractured his left hand in the assault. He along with four other officials are receiving treatment at Tirath Ram Shah Hospital in Civil Lines.

“Six police personnel had arrived in poly-traumatic condition. One was discharged and five are still under-recovery. Their condition is stable and they would be discharged in two-three days,” Dr J.P. Singh, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, told IANS.

Akin to Kumar, 80 more people, who were injured in the clashes including farmers and policemen, were admitted to different hospitals. 74 people were admitted to Lok Nayak Hospital and Sushruta Trauma Centre. While many were discharged the next day, the situation of one police official remains critical.

“Five policemen are currently under our treatment while the condition of one policeman who has suffered severe head injuries is still critical,” informed Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director, Lok Nayak Hospital.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday visited these hospitals to enquire about the health of policemen injured in the violence that broke out during the farmers’ tractor parade.

Meanwhile, families of the injured policemen are distraught after the incident. Many have asked the officials to quit the force.

“My family is in distress after they got to know about my condition. I’m under pressure to leave the job and go back to my hometown. However, I’m trying to pacify them,” said an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) from Sarai Rohilla police station. He has received visible injuries on his hands and sustained multiple internal injuries as well, doctors said.

The ASI was also deployed at the Red Fort. His younger brother, who is caring for him, said that the whole family wants him to quit. “We don’t want him to face another life-threatening assault. His well being is of paramount importance,” his brother added.




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