Injured police personnel recall Republic Day horror

(This story originally appeared in on Jan 28, 2021)

NEW DELHI: Had he not jumped into that moat at Red Fort, he could well have had his neck slashed. At least that is what assistant sub-inspector Joginder Raj recalled a day after the rioting at Red Fort on Republic Day. “The attackers had all sorts of weapons,” Singh said. “They climbed to the ramparts and hoisted their flag. Someone gave them the national flag, but they threw it down. A senior police officer picked it up to prevent it being dishonoured.” Around 300 policemen like Raj were injured in the violence.


Numerous police personnel were injured when escaping the wrath of the protesting farmers on Tuesday. On Wednesday evening, S N Shrivastava, police commissioner, visited the various hospitals where the injured policemen have been admitted and enquired about their well-being. While many of the injured cops were discharged after treatment, some are in critical condition, some in the ICU. Two police personnel and two protesters are in Lok Nayak Hospital, all four reported to be stable now. “One policeman has injuries in the head and the neck region. The other policeman suffered hand injuries. One protester had facial injury and the other head injury,” said a source.

The maximum number of injured cops are from North district, most of them posted at Red Fort. Inspector PK Jha was trying to erect barricades under Tilak Bridge when a mob charged at him. While Jha was protected from the blows on his back by his riot gear, a stone landed on his face and knocked out two teeth. Jha was taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre in an auto.

Constable Ritu was on duty at Red Fort when she sustained injuries. “A heavy iron grille fell on my leg and my colleague’s chest. We couldn’t move. It was a scary time, because the protesters had swords, lathis and spears,” she said. Inspector P C Yadav received injuries on his head, neck and arms in a sword attack, but he managed to save a colleague and escorted him to safety. “When we were trying to stop the agitators from climbing to the ramparts, I saw a colleague bleeding from his head and on the verge of collapsing,” Yadav told TOI. “I picked him up and carried to a safer area, but I was hit on the head with a sword. My helmet broke and I fell unconscious when I was hit on the head again.”

Yadav underwent surgery on Wednesday. “We maintained restraint and requested the farmers to let me take my colleague to the hospital,” Yadav said on Wednesday. “We did not use force. If we had, there could have been many casualties.”

Balwant Singh, SHO, Mohan Garden, sustained fractures on both his hands when posted near Uttam Nagar on Najafgarh Road. “Our duty was to ensure that the farmers on the tractor parade did not cross the road. Around 2.30pm, the tractors arrived as scheduled, but the farmers turned violent and damaged a bus that obstructed their progress,” said Singh. He particularly remembered one extremely violent man who was venting all his anger on the bus. When the SHO approached the man, he was attacked with a lathi.

Singh’s arm was badly wounded and he had to be moved to the hospital. “We had placed a crane to stop them from crossing a certain point,” added Singh, “but they were violent and wielded weapons and sticks. Some of them were even drunk.”

Additional DCP (East) Manjeet Singh Sheoran, who was on duty at the Ghazipur border, managed to save his life when a tractor tried to run over him. Another IPS probationary officer, Pukhraj Kamal, who was managing law and order at Akshardham, sustained a head injury after farmers pelted stones at the cops.

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