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Protester killed in Delhi tractor rally was waiting to reunite with wife in Australia

Navreet, a BCom graduate from the University of Melbourne who got married in 2019, died when the tractor he was riding toppled over after crashing into police barricades Tuesday.

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Lucknow/Delhi: Navreet Singh (25) of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, the lone fatality of the violence that erupted during the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally, was not a farmer himself. According to his grandfather Hardeep Singh, a writer who says he has been a part of the farmers’ protest from Day One, Navreet was participating in the rally because he felt deeply for the farmers’ cause. 

Navreet, a BCom graduate from the University of Melbourne who got married in 2019, died when the tractor he was riding toppled over after crashing into police barricades Tuesday. But the circumstances of his death remain contested.

While the postmortem report, accessed by ThePrint, says he died of head injuries, the protesting farmers and his family suggest otherwise. According to them, Navreet lost balance after he was shot by police. The young protester’s family rejects the autopsy report, which doesn’t show any bullet injury.

Hardeep is also dismissive of the account offered by Delhi Police, that Navreet was driving the tractor dangerously and rammed it into the barricades with an intention to break them, after which it lost balance. 

“Police are lying,” Hardeep told ThePrint. “He did not believe in any sort of violence. He was just a part of the rally to support the cause. Just like he had been sitting at the protest for days,” he said.  

“This is a big conspiracy of the government to mislead the peaceful movement,” said Hardeep. “They have murdered my grandson. The government is responsible for the entire case. Why was he lying on the road for three hours? They (police) shot him and ran away.” 

Also Read: Cracks appear among farmer unions after R-Day violence as 2 groups withdraw from protests

‘Vocal about farmers’ cause’

Navreet got married in 2019, to a woman from UP. Both of them subsequently flew to Melbourne after obtaining a student visa. While in Australia, Navreet’s family said, he also worked part-time at a restaurant. 

Months later, Navreet and his wife returned to Rampur. His wife subsequently went back to Melbourne, but Navreet stayed back for some time. When he finally decided to go, he couldn’t because of the lockdown. At the time of his death, he had been living with his parents for the past year and a half.

After the farmers protesting against the three farm laws set up base at Delhi’s borders in late November, Navreet began to visit the Ghazipur site and stayed there for days at a time, Hardeep said.

Hardeep, who calls himself a writer and protester, said he joined the protest because he wanted to write a book on it. “My grandson was inspired by me, that’s why he came to see me,” he added.

Navreet, he said, was very “passionate and vocal about the farmers’ cause”. He left his home in Rampur Monday, along with many others, to join the tractor rally. 

Navreet, Hardeep said, was preparing to return to Melbourne. “He was getting his paperwork done to return to Melbourne. He had a valid visa but some paperwork was pending. Also, he had to get his wedding registered,” he said.

Navreet’s uncle Inderjeet said his wife is still in Australia. “She got to know about the incident. Everyone is shocked. They have known each other for a long time,” he added.  

“We are sad and frustrated, what more we can say?” Inderjeet said. “We don’t believe in this post-mortem report, but what do we do? We have lost our child. Everyone present there knows it happened due to a bullet.”

Diljeet Singh, a family friend, said “whatever happened was very heart-wrenching”. “We had never expected such an unfortunate event for a boy who came to India from Australia but could return due to the lockdown,” he added.

Also Read: Thinner crowds, fear of arrests, clueless farmers — Ghazipur, Singhu day after R-Day violence

The postmortem report

Navreet Singh’s autopsy report says he sustained a “traumatic injury above the left side of his skull from where his brain started oozing out”.

The report does not mention any bullet injury or exit wound to suggest he was shot. His X-ray, too, did not show any bullet inside the body.

Singh reportedly sustained six injuries, including lacerated wounds on his right eyebrow and chin, a contusion on his right nipple, abrasions on his left leg and knee joint, and injuries on his skull.

A “lacerated wound and traumatic injury above the left side of the skull”, is however, what led to his death, the report says.

“The cause of death is shock and haemorrhage, as a result of anti-mortem head injuries,” the report says.

Speaking to the media, Bareilly Additional Director General of Police (DGP) Avinash Chandra, whose jurisdiction includes Rampur, said the postmortem report has confirmed that Navreet Singh was not shot, and succumbed to antemortem injuries “received after his tractor toppled”.

Also Read: Fresh talks offer ‘unlikely’ now — Modi govt could harden stand on farm laws after violence


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  1. Print want support for their Journalism for this toilet paper shit. Please explain how he was innocent. Headline should be “Protestor died in Tractor Adventure, family still cannot accept the truth”

  2. liberal media at it again, making victims out of culprits, he may indeed have been waiting for his wife, but he was a terrorist too, someone who laid seige to our country’s capital

  3. Oh how innocent! Look at how many dreams he had. Not only that his inner che geuvera is what attracted this equally innocent starry eyed reporter to him. His tractor driving skills were out of this world, the way he demolished barricade after barricade was amazing. Would have surely pulverised couple of police people with his skills (must have learnt at Australian bcom course) but sadly some unknown unseen outer space projectile hit him and he left our starry eyed pro democracy pro tractor acrobatics reporter alone. But thankfully post mortem report has been rejected by family & almost 70 % of this article is devoted to their genuine & factual protests. After all son of an innocent school teacher… Sorry that was someone else…. Bcom from Australia….deserves this much attention from such a firebrand and pro revolution reporter. Ah…. The exuberance of youth & that great liberal, freedom from state ideology. Ah!

    • He was Punjabi and the print has special emotions for them. :-). They will never paint anything evil when it comes to Punjab. This channel was first to give explaination on Nishan sahib, as if we don’t know.

      • Bhai kuch to sharam karo. Kya haal liya 26 january ko! Saari bhadaas nikaal li india ke against? Ek bechaara acrobatics karte hue maara gaya. Uski khatit hi, kahin kuan, talaab dhoondh lo….and then u know what to do!

  4. Wrong Choice of words. He wasn’t killed. He unfortunately died by accident when he rammed his tractor into barricades. Be extremely careful with the choice of words.

    • Killed is a perfectly valid term in this case. It does not imply a person killed him, only that something caused him to die. In this case, that something is the injuries he sustained in a tractor accident of his own making.

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