Merely a year after an incident where an Assistant Sub Inspector of Punjab Police in Patiala, had his hand chopped off, after he intercepted them to show a curfew pass during lockdown, the ‘Nihang’ are in spotlight again – for a brutal lynching and a similar ‘chopping’ incident at the ongoing farmers’ protest at the Haryana-Delhi border.
At least three videos have been surfaced from the farmer protests
at Kundli in Haryana’s Sonipat , showing a large group of men who appear to be dressed as the Nihang – a ‘warrior’ Sikh group – standing around a man in his 30s.
According to police sources, the man is 35 (or 36)-year-old laborer Lakhbir Singh from Tam Taran district in Punjab.
One video shows the group standing over and questioning him, after his hand has been cut off, and he lies bleeding in a state of shock. Some of the men appear to be carrying spears, and demanding Singh tell them his name.
Another shows him strung upside down, limp. The next shows him on the ground as the men film his dying moments.
Haryana Police have said they found the body at around 5 am, after the local police station was alerted. JS Randhawa, Superintendent of Sonipat Police, was quoted by ANI as saying ‘vital clues’ have been recovered from the crime scene and that an arrest is expected. Sandeep Khirwar, IGP (Rohtak Range) was earlier quoted saying ‘a forensic team had examined the area.’
Unconfirmed reports say Singh was beaten to death and his hand was cut off for allegedly desecrating the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. His body was then tied to police barricade, where it was discovered.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the representative body leading the protest, has unequivocally condemned the murder, saying they ‘want to make it clear both sides – the Nihang group (and) the deceased – have no relation with the Kisan Morcha.’
Last night an argument apparently broke out over allegations of desecration by Singh say sources at the site. “This should have been taken to the police… nobody can take the law into their hands,” Yogendra Yadav, head of the Swaraj India Party, said, reiterating the SKM’s offer to cooperate with police.
Farmers have gathered at Singhu (on the Haryana-Delhi border) for over a year now to protest the farm laws. Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar was due to visit Sonipat this week to attend a public event.
The police officer from Patiala has since recovered after extensive surgery. Lakhbir Singh unfortunately succumbed to his injuries, as the incident flares up at the protests and brings the ‘Nihang’ back into the mainstream discourse.
Singh is survived by a sister, a wife and three young daughters.
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