Man tells police he saw protesters kick constable
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A day after police read out excerpts from the post-mortem report of constable Subhash Chand Tomar to put an end to the controversy over the cause of his death, a 31-year-old stepped forward to claim he was witness to the attack on the policeman by men wearing caps with Aam Aadmi Party written on them.
Saleem Alvi, who claims to be a social worker, recorded his statement at Parliament Street police station and was called to the inter-state cell of the Crime Branch in Chanakyapuri where he was questioned for more than three hours.
But questions were being raised about Alvi's claim after it emerged that he had attempted immolation outside the Parliament Street police station last year when he wasn't allowed to pose a question to Arvind Kejriwal during a sit-in protest there. This detail about Alvi was disclosed by both police and AAP.
Alvi told Newsline he was among the protesters at India Gate last Sunday. "We were protesting peacefully at India Gate when I saw someone from the crowd throw a stone at constable Tomar. The stone hit his thigh and he fell to the ground. Within minutes, five-six persons came up to the constable and kicked him several times. They were wearing caps which had Aam Aadmi Party written on them. They were wearing shoes which had spikes. The attack lasted about half-a-minute and they fled," he said.
Alvi said he ran to them and told them not to attack policemen. "They asked me to shut up and said this is how protests must be done."
PTI quoted AAP leader Manish Sisodia as saying "Alvi had earlier demanded that (the undivided) IAC should reduce petrol prices. We had told him we cannot do this as we do not have that power. Later, he sat on a fast in front of Kejriwal's house... He also tried self-immolation at Ramdev and Anna Hazare's joint agitation."
Asked why he didn't approach the police earlier, Alvi said: "The whole thing had become controversial and I was waiting for it to die down. But when I saw reports on TV with people claiming that the constable was not beaten, I decided to approach the police immediately and tell the truth."
Told that two other eyewitnesses, Yogendra and Paulene, had claimed that they had not seen any injury marks on Tomar, Alvi said they "arrived 10 minutes after I did".
On Wednesday, RML Hospital medical superintendent Dr T S Sidhu said there were no visible injury marks. But hours later, police read out excepts from Tomar's post-mortem report to underline that he had a heart attack following injuries to his neck and chest. There were also fractures in three ribs.
Police said they will verify Alvi's statement and put together the sequence of events.