On January 26, thousands of alleged farmers protesting against the recently enacted agriculture laws barged into Delhi for their tractor rally. They damaged not only public property and raised two flags with the Sikh symbols on the Red Fort but also injured several dozen police personnel.
In the aftermath of the riots that happened on Republic Day 2021, several protesters and farmer leaders, including Deep Sidhu who were present at the Red Fort were arrested. However, several others are still at large, like andolanjeevi Yogendra Yadav and Rakesh Tikait. Now, RTIs filed by RTI activist Vivek Pandey has revealed how much damage was caused after the said riots.
Pandey filed an RTI (Right To Information) with the Delhi Police to get details of damage reported at all Police Stations in the Delhi region. In the RTI, he asked:
- Details of number of vehicles burned in this rally
- Details of loss of property in this rally
- Details of amounts of loss of property in this rally
- Details of number of policemen are injured in clash between farmers and Police
- Details of number of farmers are injured in clash between farmers and Police
RTI reply revealed damages worth crores
He received replies from all the Police stations except one. Pandey shared the RTI details with OpIndia, and here are the details that we found about the damage alleged farmers caused during the riots.
A total of 299 police personnel were injured during the riots. Out of these, 115 police personnel were injured in the Outer District, 37 in Dwarka, 19 in Central and 24 in the North district were injured.
One item that stood out in the RTI replies was magazine of an INSAS rifle with 20 live rounds that went missing during the riots.
A total of 236 Iron Barricades were damaged across Delhi by the rioters. Two jarsi barricades and 7 RCC barricades were also damaged. In one of the replies, the department mentioned that it had purchased iron barricades at Rs.17,688 per piece during the 2019-20 financial year. Going by the estimate, Delhi Police suffered a financial loss of approx Rs.42 lakhs in just damaged iron barricades.
A total of 11 DTC buses were damaged. On average, a bus may cost anywhere between Rs.18 lakh to Rs.45 lakh depending on the quality of the bus. Assuming these were the low-cost buses, even then the there was damage worth 1.98 crores in cases the buses were deemed non-repairable.
Other damaged items as per RTI replies from all stations include two chairs, one table, one tent parda missing, two Police buses, two-door frame metal detectors (DFMDs), one KM long central verge steel railing, 27 PVC cane shield, 38 helmets, one bulletproof jacket, 45 ropes, Over 140 meters of long-chain, over 160 meters of short-chain, 30 locks, 33 PVC canes, 40 plastic lathis, 27 bamboo lathis, 20 bundles of barbed wire, backside of one gipsy, one riot control vehicle Vajra, 27 government vehicles (including police vehicles), nine private cars, two loud hailers, eight tyre killers and ten body protectors.
It has to be noted that several cases were forwarded to Crime Branch, Delhi Police. Thus, the exact number of injured police personnel might be higher. Especially the incidents that took place at Red Fort are being investigated by the Crime Branch. As it is an ongoing investigation, Crime Branch could not provide details of the damage or the police personnel injured at Red Fort. Those numbers are missing from this report.
About January 26 riots in Delhi
Kisan Unions had called for a tractor rally on January 26, 2021. Though initially, Police had denied permission for the rally, it was permitted with several conditions. One of the main condition was that the rally would be commenced only on the permitted route. The leaders of Kisan Unions agreed to the conditions.
However, on January 26, a large group of alleged farmers entered Delhi from unpermitted routes and started rioting when Delhi Police tried to stop them. A group among them managed to reach Red Fort and hoisted two flags with the Sikh holy symbol Nishan Sahib. One of the flags was hoisted on the flag pole designated for Indian National Flag that is hoisted on August 15 every year to mark Independence Day.
There were visuals of one of the protestors throwing away Tricolour while trying to hoist the alien flag. The protestors at several places tried to mow down the police personnel with tractors. Police personnel were attacked with lathis, stones, swords and other sharp weapons by the protestors. RTI replies reveal that around 299 police personnel were injured, which is lesser than the actual number as some data was not revealed due to ongoing investigation.