R-Day violence: Man seen swinging swords at Red Fort arrested
New Delhi, Feb. 17 (PTI): A 30-year-old man allegedly seen swinging swords with the intent of “motivating” and “energising” protesters at Red Fort during the violence on Republic Day has been arrested, police said on Wednesday.
Maninder Singh, who runs a sword training school near his home in Swaroop Nagar in northwest Delhi and works as a car AC mechanic, was arrested around 7.45 pm on Tuesday near the C D block bus stop in nearby Pitampura, police said.
“Singh was seen in a video swinging two swords at Red Fort with the intent of motivating or radicalising and energising violent anti-national elements indulging in brutal assault and attacking police persons on duty with swords, ‘khandas’, iron rods, axes, ‘barsaas’, sticks etc and damaging the historical Red Fort on Republic Day,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwah said in a statement.
Over 120 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence across Delhi on January 26, officials said.
Clashes broke out between protesters and police during the tractor parade called by farmer unions to highlight their demand for a rollback of the Centre’s three farm laws. Many protesters reached the Red Fort on tractors and entered the monument, some hoisting religious flags on the flagstaff and its domes.
Singh was “radicalised” by seeing provoking Facebook posts of various groups, police said, adding he would frequently visit the Singhu border and was “highly motivated” by speeches made by leaders there.
According to police, Singh also “motivated” six people from the neighbourhood who had accompanied the tractor parade that headed from Singhu border towards the Mukarba Chowk.
Two swords — 4.3-foot-long ‘khandas’ — used by Singh have been recovered from his house, police said.
According to the plan, Singh, five of his associates and other unknown armed men entered the Red Fort where he did a sword dance.
“That sword dance motivated violent protesters to cause more mayhem at Red Fort by indulging in all sorts of violence against public servants, including policemen on duty there, and causing damage to the Red Fort,” Kushwah said.
The video of him swinging swords at the Red Fort was found in his mobile phone. Other photos of his presence at Singhu border are also there, police said, adding that an investigation was on.