New Delhi; Hours after a man’s body was found hung, his hand chopped off, near Kundli, close to the farmer protest site at Singhu border, on Friday morning, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) condemned the gruesome killing and demanded a probe into the incident and punishment for the culprits.
According to a statement by SKM, an umbrella body of over 40 farmer organisations, the deceased was identified as Lakhbir Singh from Punjab who was “mutilated and murdered”. It added that a “Nihang group (a Sikh warrior order) at the scene has claimed responsibility” claiming that the deceased attempted to “commit sacrilege with regard to the Sarbaloh Granth.”
In a purported video clip that surfaced on social media platforms, some Nihangs are seen standing as the man lies on the ground in a pool of blood. The Nihangs are heard in the clip saying the man has been punished for desecrating a holy book of the Sikhs, reports PTI.
The SKM said both the parties – the deceased and the Nihang group – had no relation with it, and demanded that the culprits be punished as per law “after investigating the allegation of murder and conspiracy behind the sacrilege.”
Social media platforms were flooded on Friday morning with purported videos and photos of a man tied to an overturned police barricade near the Singhu border, where farmers are staying put since November last year in protest against the three contentious farm laws.
The victim, 35-year-old Lakbhir Singh, was reportedly from village Cheema Kala in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district.
“The injured person was rushed to the civil hospital, where he was declared dead. We have registered a case of murder against unknown persons. There are several videos circulating where some Nihang Sikhs have claimed that the man disrespected the holy book. It is suspected he was beaten up and killed by some Nihang Sikhs. This is a matter of investigation,” the Indian Express reported Superintendent of Police, Sonepat, Jashandeep Singh Randhawa as saying. The body has been sent to the Sonepat civil hospital for post-mortem.
In a statement released after an urgent meeting on Friday noon, SKM condemned the “gruesome killing” and said the farmers’ group is against sacrilege of any religious text or symbol, adding that it, however, does “not give anyone the right to take the law into their own hands.”
The farmers’ body, reiterating that their movement is “opposed to violence in any form,” further added that they would cooperate with the police and administration in any lawful action.
Earlier in the day, Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary, Jamhuri Kisan Sabha (one of SKM’s member) told NewsClick over phone from Punjab that the Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee must take a note of this incident.
Asked if it would have any impact on the farmers’ agitation, Sandhu reiterated that Nihangs were not part of the SKM and that the latter was not involved in the incident in any manner. “The andolan will continue,” he added.