New Delhi: The metal batons and armguards a few Delhi Police personnel were seen wearing in a viral photograph Monday aren’t part of the force’s approved anti-riot gear.
According to the Delhi Police, the gear was ordered by police officers of East Delhi’s Shahdara district in the wake of the violence that erupted in the national capital during the farmers’ tractor rally on 26 January.
During the violence, some of the people running amok were seen wielding swords, and personnel at Shahdara ordered the gear for fear of grievous injuries, the police said.
It was done without permission from senior officers, and without subjecting the gear to requisite tests, they added.
“These metal sticks and armour have not been approved by police. It is not part of our anti-riot gear,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range) Alok Kumar told ThePrint.
“For any such armour/equipment to be included in our list, it has to undergo trials, which is not the case here. A local police officer had ordered for these metal lances and armguards over fear of getting grievously injured, without informing the senior officers.”
In the viral photo, Delhi Police personnel are seen standing by a road bearing metal batons and armguards that protect the forearm against weapons.
The gear, Kumar said, was ordered after the 26 January violence. “This is an extremely unique situation. Police don’t regularly deal with sword-wielding agitators, hence the local police thought this would be a smart way to handle the situation without losing their hands and legs,” Kumar added.
He said the officers involved in placing the order won’t be punished.
“The officers were called back the moment seniors came to know of these weapons being used,” he added. “They didn’t use it. We have asked for an explanation but there is no need to punish them for trying to protect themselves.”
The Delhi Police have also denied reports that they are setting up an ‘anti-sword squad’.
“We haven’t set up any anti-sword squad to tackle sword-wielding goons as of now,” Kumar said.
Also Read: ‘Conspiracy’ to storm Delhi was hatched after farm laws were passed in Sept: Delhi Police FIR
394 personnel injured on R-Day
According to Delhi Police estimates, as many as 394 personnel were injured during the 26 January violence that also saw protesters breaching the Red Fort.
On Friday, the station house officer at Alipur, was grievously injured with a sword as the police sought to control a clash at Singhu border between a group of men, including members of fringe group Hindu Sena, and protesting farmers of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.
The Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana is one of the sites where farmers have been protesting against the farm laws for more than two months now.
Also Read: 6 senior citizens in Delhi Police’s list of 120 people arrested for Republic Day violence