New Delhi: A second member of the Sikhs’ Nihang order was arrested and two more surrendered before Sonipat Police in connection with the lynching of a Dalit farm labourer at a farmers’ protest site.
Sarabjit Singh, arrested on Friday for the brutal killing of Lakhbir Singh, was produced before a Sonipat court in Haryana and remanded in police custody for seven days.
Hours later, Narain Singh, who is also a Nihang, was arrested by the Amritsar Rural police at Amarkot village in Amritsar district, police said. In Amritsar, Narain Singh claimed he had informed the police that he was surrendering. Talking to the media before his arrest, he was unrepentant and said that Lakhbir Singh had been “punished for sacrilege”. He said that the accused in the Bargari sacrilege incident in Punjab were yet to be arrested, but now if somebody will commit “such a heinous crime he would be punished on the spot”.
Narain Singh was given a robe of honour and a garland of currency notes by some people when he paid obeisance in the Amarkot Gurdwara before his arrest.
Late Saturday evening, two more belonging to the Nihang order, who hailed from Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib, surrendered before the Sonipat police in Kundli. They interacted with the media at the Singhu border before surrendering.
Indian Express has reported that after the latest surrenders by men identified as Bhagwant Singh and Govind Preet Singh, they were taken into custody from Singhu border after both surrendered and “confessed” to their role in the murder.
According to police, Sarabjit Singh claimed the involvement of a few more people in the killing.
National Commission for Scheduled Caste Chairperson Vijay Sampla said the protesting farmers cannot wash their hands off such incidents.
“Their role is the same as that of culprits. They cannot wash their hands off the incidents,” he said after meeting around 15 Dalit outfits which submitted a memorandum demanding stringent action against the culprits.
Sampla has also sought a report from Haryana police into the incident.
The SKM had, however, issued a statement on Friday distancing itself from the incident and said that it wanted to make it clear that “both the parties to the incident”, the Nihang group and the victim, have no relation with the Morcha.
Farmer union leaders asserted on Saturday that the incident will have no impact on the agitation and said they will upgrade security by installing CCTV cameras and increasing the number of volunteers at the protest sites.
The body of Lakhbir Singh was found on Friday tied to a barricade at the Singhu border with a hand chopped off and multiple wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons. Hours after the crime, Sarabjit Sigh, wearing the blue robes of the Nihang order, claimed that he had “punished” the victim for “desecrating” a Sikh holy book.
Questioning his claim, the victim’s wife Jaspreet Kaur and sister Raj Kaur said Lakhbir Singh “had a deep respect for the holy Guru Granth Sahib.” His family has called for a probe into the death, as The Wire had reported earlier.
The mortal remains of Lakhbir Singh were cremated at his native village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran amid tight security in the presence of his family members. No Sikh priest was present to perform Ardas (Sikh religious prayer) and no one from his village, Cheema Kalan, attended the last rites, PTI has reported.
(With PTI inputs)