Farmer’s death: AAP govt puts Delhi Police on notice for no-show

Brand-new DELHI: The tragic death of 40-year-old Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan, during an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally in Delhi on Wednesday has actually led to an ugly face-off between the party and Delhi Police. While the party has actually held the police responsible for the incident, saying that it failed to act despite repeated requests, the FIR filed by the police mentions abetment to suicide, obstructing a public servant from conducting its duty and criminal conspiracy.

Facing criticism from all quarters for being insensitive in its conduct at the rally, AAP on Thursday announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for Gajendra Singh’s family. PAC member Sanjay Singh will be leading a team to the farmer’s village in Dausa, Rajasthan, on Friday morning to meet the family. Party members are not willing to speak aloud but in private they are admitting that continuing with the rally after the farmer had been rushed to hospital was not a wise decision.

AAP has actually denied that the farmer was in touch with Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, as suggested by the former’s brother. “There is a magisterial inquiry on and we would request Delhi Police and Singh’s family to be a part of it. It will be easy for the police to establish from call records whether Singh received a call from Sisodia or not,” said Sanjay Singh.

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On Thursday, after Union home minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament that AAP volunteers were responsible for abetting the suicide, senior AAP member Sanjay Singh called the home minister a liar for misrepresenting facts. Delhi Police, meanwhile, refused to join the magisterial probe ordered by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. DCP (Brand-new Delhi) Vijay Singh wrote to the district magistrate (Brand-new Delhi), Sanjay Kumar, on Thursday, saying that the latter had no jurisdiction in the matter. The DM wrote back, asking the police to produce records related to the incident latest by 11 am on Friday.

In what is a clear warning from the state to the police, the DM’s letter says that under the Delhi Police Act, a police officer who wilfully neglects an order, will be liable for prosecution. “In this case, DCP, Brand-new Delhi, through his letter dated April 22 has actually informed that the DM has actually no jurisdiction regarding this matter. This letter conveys wilful neglect of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973, and procedure established by law. It also demonstrates disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant under section 188 of IPC. Further, the act amounts to obstruction in discharge of duties of a public servant punishable under section 186 of IPC,” the letter states.

Protest at Jantar Mantar over farmer Gajender Singh’s suicide. (PTI photo)
The DM pointed out that his letter to the DCP on Wednesday, informing him of the inquiry, stated the relevant provisions of law under which the inquiry was being carried out “which seem to have been overlooked by the DCP”. He added that as per provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure,1973, it is mandatory for cases of suicide to be reported to the nearest executive magistrate which further allows an inquiry by the “executive magistrate in addition to the investigation held by the police officer”.

“In complete disregard to the established law and procedures…neither the SHO of the police station, nor anyone informed the nearest executive magistrate as mandated under sub-section 174(1). The direction for production of the documents/evidence issued to SHO, Parliament Street, as per provisions of law were also ignored. This seems to have been done in wilful breach or neglect of law,” concluded the DM.

Earlier in the day, AAP disputed the facts placed by Delhi Police on record regarding Wednesday’s incident. “On Wednesday the same Delhi Police which was supposedly trying to rescue Singh had said that it was not their job to climb trees and rescue people. Is this some conspiracy by the police to target AAP? Several people and news channels recorded the incident as it happened and should put out the tapes in public to establish Delhi Police’s culpability,” said Sanjay Singh.

Kumar Vishwas said that while the party’s decision to continue with the rally could be debated, there was no denying that the police had been asked to save Singh repeatedly and they failed to intervene. “Our workers tried very hard to save him but they failed. The police stood as mute spectators while we repeatedly asked them to step forward and help him down,” he said.

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