New Delhi: Even as Delhi Police Thursday called for questioning two people who witnessed the collapse of a constable during a protest against gang-rape here, a third witness said the policeman was kicked by protesters.
The constable, Subhash Tomar, died of injuries two days later at a hospital Dec 25. Doctors and police have offered conflicting versions on the exact cause of his death.
"I was protesting quietly near India Gate Sunday (Dec 23). Out of the crowd, I saw a stone thrown at (constable) Subhash Tomar and he fell. Then five-six men came and kicked Tomar several times," said Salim Alvi, a 31-year-old activist from Bulandshahar in Uttar Pradesh.
"They (attackers) were wearing caps with logo of Aam Aadmi Party. Their shoes had spikes," Alvi said.
The attack continued for about 20 seconds and then the men ran away, he said. "I even ran after the men and told them they should not have been violent with cops."
Yogendra Tomar and Pauline (the other two witnesses) might have reached the spot after him, Alvi said.
"I kept quiet for a day after his (constable) death. But when wrong things started coming out in the media, I thought I should tell the truth," he said.
Alvi approached the police Thursday and the crime branch recorded his statement.
But Yogendra Tomar had said Wednesday that Tomar was neither assaulted nor trampled upon.
"He fell on his own while chasing the crowd. In fact, many protesters came to help him."
Pauline backed Yogendra, saying she saw "no visible injuries" on Tomar.
The police are also collecting video footage from news channels to establish the sequence of events.
T.S. Sidhu, medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where Tomar died, also said Wednesday that the constable had "no major external injury marks except for some cuts on his right knee and bruises on his chest".
Police the same day quoted Tomar's post-mortem report, saying he suffered "multiple internal injuries produced with the impact of a blunt object on his neck and chest".
Cops quiz witnesses of constable's collapse
Two people, out of three who said they witnessed constable Subhash Chand Tomar collapse during an anti-rape protest in the capital, were questioned by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police Thursday.
"The two were questioned for five hours. Their statement were recorded," a police officer told IANS.
Police had called all the three witnesses for questioning, however, only two - Yogendra Tomar, in his 20s, and Salim Alvi, 31, turned up for questioning.
"Pauline, the third witness, is likely to join investigation tomorrow," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) S.B.S. Tyagi.
Witness Yogendra Tomar, who is a journalism student, reached the Crime Branch office in Chankayapuri around 3 p.m.
"I am not under any kind of pressure. I will tell crime branch officials what I have been saying till now," Yogendra told reporters while entering the office.
Constable Tomar, 47, collapsed near Tilak Marg during the anti-rape protest around India Gate Sunday and died of cardiac arrest early Tuesday.
Police said he was trampled upon by the crowd. Yogendra along with Pauline, in her 20s, said the constable collapsed while chasing the crowd and that he was not beaten or trampled by the protesters.
Alvi, who claimed that the constable was beaten up by protesters, also came to the crime branch office.
Alvi, a social worker, Thursday volunteered to offer his statement after claiming that he saw the constable collapse.
The case of the constable's death was handed over to crime branch Wednesday.
Two of the three witnesses have challenged the police version of the constable being beaten by the crowd. Yogendra said Wednesday: "He (Tomar) wasn't assaulted or trampled."
"He fell on his own while chasing the crowd. In fact, many protesters came to help him," he said.
Pauline backed Yogendra's version and explained in detail how their efforts to revive the unconscious policeman failed, adding that she saw "no visible injuries" on the constable's body.
T.S. Sidhu, medical superintendent at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where Tomar died, said Wednesday that the constable had "no major external injury marks except for some cuts on his right knee and bruises on his chest" and "was brought here in a total collapsed stage".
Police were also collecting video footage from news channels to establish the sequence of events on the day of the incident.
Investigators Wednesday quoted an autopsy conducted on the constable which said he suffered "multiple internal injuries produced with the impact of a blunt object on his neck and chest". They did not talk about a mob attack.