3 more arrested for lynching of Dalit man at site of farmers’ protest

On Friday, the body of Lakhbir Singh (35), a Dalit farm labourer from Punjab’s Tarn Taran district, was discovered tied to a police barricade near the Singhu farm protest site on the outskirts of the Capital with the left hand and right foot cut off
Narain Singh, arrested in the Singhu border lynching case, speaks to the media in Amritsar on Saturday. Three more were arrested for lynching of Dalit man at site of farmers’ protest on Saturday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT photo)
Narain Singh, arrested in the Singhu border lynching case, speaks to the media in Amritsar on Saturday. Three more were arrested for lynching of Dalit man at site of farmers’ protest on Saturday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT photo)
Updated on Oct 17, 2021 01:11 AM IST
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BySunil Rahar, , Hindustan Times, Rohtak/amritsar

A second member of the Sikhs’ Nihang order was arrested on Saturday and two more surrendered before Sonipat Police in connection with the lynching of a Dalit labourer at a farmers’ protest site even as the victim’s family questioned the attackers’ claim that he committed sacrilege and demanded a high-level probe. Earlier in the day, a Sonepat court sent Sarabjeet Singh, a Nihang who took responsibility for the murder on Friday, to seven-day police custody.

Nihangs, a Sikh order distinguished by their blue robes and swords, alleged the man desecrated the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book.

On Friday, the body of Lakhbir Singh (35), a Dalit farm labourer from Punjab’s Tarn Taran district, was discovered tied to a police barricade near the Singhu farm protest site on the outskirts of the Capital with the left hand and right foot cut off. A purported video clip of the incident — which happened at Kundli on the Delhi-Haryana border — went viral.

Hours after the crime, Sarabjeet, a resident of Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, claimed he had “punished” Lakhbir for “desecrating” a Sikh holy book. Later, he was arrested by the Sonepat police. “During interrogation, the accused named the involvement of four more members of the Nihang community in this gruesome murder, besides identifying the faces of others. The number of accused in this case is likely to be more than five. We had sought two weeks remand but the court had granted a week remand of Sarabjeet Singh,” Sonepat deputy superintendent of police, Virender Singh, said.

“We will also add the SC/ST section in the case as the victim belongs to the SC community. During the remand period, we have to make some recoveries from the accused, including weapons used in the crime and the clothes he was wearing. We will also take him to Gurdaspur and Chamkaur Sahib for the identification of other accused involved in the crime.”

On Saturday, Narain Singh, who heads a Nihang organisation called Misal Shaheedan Baba Baaz Singh Tarna Dal, surrendered before the police in Amritsar. “When I reached the spot, I saw his hand was chopped off by Sarabjeet Singh. Considering his sin, I hit his leg thrice with my sword and cut his foot,” Narain told reporters.

Senior superintendent of police (Amritsar-rural), Rakesh Kaushal, however, said Narain was nabbed by the police following a tip-off. “Narain Singh fled from the Singhu border. Today, we got specific input from the senior officials that he might have returned to his village...”.

“He announced that he would go to Akal Takht at 4.00 am and surrender before police there. When he found that he could not leave the village, he made an announcement that he would pay obeisance at village gurdwara. As soon as he came out of the gurdwara, we arrested him.”

Meanwhile, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Saturday called the murder “unfortunate”, but assured it will not affect the protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Surjit Singh is a correspondent. He covers politics and agriculture, besides religious affairs and Indo-Pak border in Amritsar and Tarn Taran.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022