New Delhi: Amid protests by farmers seeking revocation of three contentious agricultural laws introduced by the Government of India (GoI), farmers camped at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border claimed to have captured a man who says he was part of a 10-member team ‘trained to incite violence’ during the planned tractor rally on January 26 and ‘kill farmer leaders’ ahead of the day.

The man, who said he was trained by a police official to disrupt the event on Republic Day, has been handed over to the Haryana police, a Delhi-based news organisation NDTV reported.

Quoting protesters, the report said that the young man, caught late yesterday evening, was part of a ‘conspiracy to break up ongoing agitation’ which has seen thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and other states take part. The 10th round of talks they held with the GoI yesterday ended in a deadlock.

“Our plan was that on January 26…from the first line, a gun will be fired when the Delhi police try to stop (the tractor rally). The orders are to first try and stop them (farmers). If they don’t stop, the orders are to fire at them,” the captured man was quoted confessing to media persons on Friday night.

“On 24th, the plan is to shoot the four people on stage. We were trained by Pradeep Singh…he is police SHO of Rai (station house officer or station in charge). Whenever he came to meet us, he would be wearing a mask,” the man alleged.

Quoting SHO of Rai police station Vivek Malik, as no other policeman named Pradeep is stationed there, the report said that he watched the farmers’ press conference last night and was surprised at the claims made by the captured man. Malik, according to the report, has been posted at Rai for the past seven months.

At the press briefing, the unnamed man also said there were nine others, including two women, who were part of the team meant to spark chaos at the tractor rally, although he didn’t know the names of the others.

Meanwhile, one of the farmer leaders said, “The youth has identified photos of the four farmer leaders who were to be targeted by them in some manner…the operation was to be executed any time after January 23.”

Pertinently, the unions have planned a tractor rally on January 26 comprising tens of thousands of farmers to push for the repeal of the three laws.

 

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