The unfortunate violence near the Red Fort on Republic Day is an eye-opener and it holds lessons for the law-enforcement agencies and the police.
Any crowd has the potential to turn hostile, more so, if it is leaderless and there is no uniformity in command.
In this case, adding fuel to the fire were the irresponsible statements made by certain leaders for political advantage.
Tuesday’s violence comes in the backdrop of undesirable elements infiltrating the protests—earlier, posters of Umar Khalid, among others, were seen at a protest site—and that should not have gone unnoticed.
I fail to understand why no preventive arrests were made, no proactive action taken under Sections 107 and 116(3) of The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
It was imminent that violence would break out, especially if the protesters were allowed inside Delhi. The Delhi Police’s 37-point directive to the protesters was issued only on January 25. These could not be implemented at a short notice for an agitation of such magnitude.
The rallies should have been escorted by police volunteers, that way the farmers would not have lost their way (as some unions have claimed). FAQs should have been circulated, and a contingency plan should have been in place.
Red Fort should have been turned into a cantonment, although the wake-up call came late.
NOT ANOTHER JALLIANWALA BAGH
I, however, would like to compliment the Delhi Police for showing exemplary restraint, not using lethal weapons against the protesters.
It would have opened a Pandora’s Box and the criticism against the action would have lasted decades, which was the game plan of Pakistan and Khalistan supporters. They wanted to turn January 26 into another Jallianwala Bagh and brand the police commissioner General Dyer.
Kudos to the Delhi Police for not falling into that trap. The Delhi Police acted as mature force and did not open fire.
I would also like to compliment the mahila contingent of the Delhi Police. In the face of great and sudden provocation and imminent danger, they stood their ground and braved the heavily armed and violent agitators.