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CIMA Gallary

Constable falls to capital protests
Murder charge on eight

New Delhi, Dec. 25: Deepak Tomar, 20, was so inspired by his policeman father that he wanted to follow him into the force, till his dream lay shattered this foggy Christmas morning.

Delhi police constable Subhash Chand Tomar, 47, today died of injuries suffered at India Gate on Sunday at the hands of bus-rape protesters, eight of whom have now been booked for murder after their arrest on lesser charges and bail yesterday.

“My dream has now become a curse. I don’t want to join the force any more and get killed like my father for nothing,” said a tearful Deepak, a BBA student who had been preparing for the recruitment exam for sub-inspectors.

“He was only doing his duty but some of the protesters beat him and trampled on him after he collapsed. Is this what one deserves for serving the people?”

Tomar leaves behind wife Amrish Devi, who fainted three times while he was being cremated with police honours including a 21-gun salute, daughter Jyoti, 23, sons Deepak and Sonu, 17, and his elderly mother.

Officers said Tomar had fallen unconscious after being hit by stones and a bat during the protest that had turned violent after political activists joined in. He had been on a ventilator at RML Hospital since Sunday evening.

“He was mercilessly beaten up and sustained serious injuries in his abdomen, chest and neck.... He was beaten up with a balla (bat). We’ll identify the attackers,” Union home secretary R.K. Singh said.

Hospital sources said Tomar was in a “critical” state of cardiac arrest when he was brought in.

Tomar, a graduate, had joined the police in 1989 as a constable. He hailed from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and was posted at Karawal Nagar police station when he was put on India Gate duty on Sunday.

“He was planning to get his daughter married and had applied for bank loans. He had ensured his children received a proper education,” said neighbour Rakesh Sharma at Shahdara, northwest Delhi.

Jyoti, a graduate, is doing her BEd while Sonu is a Class XI student. “Father wanted to take leave on Sunday and spend time with us, but got ready to go to work after sometime,” she said.

“He brought his motorcycle out but found its tyres deflated. I asked him not to go but he took a bus, promising to return soon.”

A group gathered outside the crematorium demanding death for those responsible for Tomar’s death. “He was beaten up by hooligans milling about with genuine protesters. They should be hanged like the six gang rape accused,” a man shouted.

One of the eight people slapped with murder charges, Chaman, is a member of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, police sources said. They had earlier been booked for attempt to murder, rioting and destruction of public property and freed on bail, but could now be re-arrested, officers said.

Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar has promised a job for one of Tomar’s children but Deepak’s immediate remarks suggest he might not be too willing to accept it at the moment.

The home ministry has announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh. Additionally, the family will receive Rs 5 lakh from Tomar’s life insurance and Rs 3 lakh from the police welfare fund. “The force has also decided to donate a day’s salary to the bereaved family,” Kumar said.

The rape protests, which lost steam yesterday following a lockdown on Rajpath, India Gate and Raisina Hill, weakened further this morning with just about 15-20 people turning up at Jantar Mantar. By afternoon, there were about 100, who fell silent for sometime as the news of Tomar’s death trickled in.

Among those who visited the crematorium were chief minister Sheila Dixit, Union ministers R.P.N. Singh and Ajit Singh, and home secretary R.K. Singh.