A Dalit man was found dead at Delhi’s Singhu border on Friday morning. While a Nihang group has claimed responsibility for the murder, the BJP has slammed farmer leaders over the incident and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has distanced itself from the case.
India Today Web DeskNew DelhiOctober 15, 2021UPDATED: October 15, 2021 23:25 IST
Over the course of the day, details of the incident emerged. The deceased was identified as 35-year-old Lakhbir Singh, a Dalit man, with no criminal history or political affiliation, as per police sources.
A group of Nihang Sikhs, Nirvair Khalsa-Udna Dal, admitted to killing the man and said he was killed for allegedly committing ‘sacrilege’. Meanwhile, the umbrella body of over forty farmers’ unions, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, distanced itself from the incident and the BJP slammed farmer leaders over the incident that took place near their protest site.
But who was Lakhbir Singh? Why was he killed? Who killed him? How have political leaders reacted? Here’s everything we know about the case so far.
1. WHO WAS LAKHBIR SINGH?
Lakhbir Singh, a 35-year-old Dalit man with no criminal antecedents or political affiliations, was a resident of the Cheema Khurd village in Tarn Taran in Punjab. He worked as a labourer in his village and had reportedly been serving at a Nihang camp near the Delhi-Haryana border for the last few days.ADVERTISEMENT
He is survived by his wife Jaspreet Kaur and three children aged 8, 10 and 12.
2. WHO KILLED HIM?
Nihang group Nirvair Khalsa-Udna Dal has claimed responsibility for the murder of Lakhbir Singh. The group said he was murdered for allegedly committing sacrilege.
Saravjeet Singh, a member of the Nihang community, surrendered to the police on Friday evening and claimed responsibility for the murder. He was arrested by the police and will be presented in court on Saturday.
The Nihangs are a Sikh order, distinguished by their blue robes and often seen carrying spears and swords.
3. WHY WAS HE KILLED?
The Nihang group, Nirvair Khalsa-Udna Dal, has said Lakhbir Singh was killed for committing sacrilege.
Speaking to India Today, Balwinder Singh of Nihang group Nirvair Khalsa-Udna Dal narrated, “Before the Prakash Prayer [offered around 3 am], he removed the cloth to cover the holy scripture. And insulted the Pothi Sahib [translation book]. He ran away and we chased him.”
He added that Lakhbir Singh was caught and attacked near a private hospital. The holy book was recovered from him by the Nihangs.
“Whoever indulges in an act of sacrilege, we will treat them in this manner only. We won’t approach any police, administration,” Balwinder Singh said.
4. WHAT DOES THE POST-MORTEM REPORT SAY?
The post-mortem report of the man revealed that he died due to injuries and excessive bleeding. The report said he was attacked with a weapon, due to which he died. There were at least ten injury marks on his body.
His one hand was chopped off and was separated from the rest of the body. The leg was also cut but was not separated from the body.
5. POLICE INVESTIGATION
Additional Director General of Police, Rohtak Range, Sandeep Khirwar was quoted in a PTI report as saying, “We have registered a case and further investigations are on.”
He later told reporters that the police hoped to make arrests in the case very soon.
“We have the names of some suspects and the investigation is on. I am hopeful that we will be able to make headway very soon, as we have some leads in the case,” he said.
Saravjeet Singh, who surrendered to the police, has already been arrested.
6. HOW DID FARMER LEADERS REACT?
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers’ unions leading the protest against the Centre’s farm laws, claimed early on Friday that a group of Nihangs were responsible for the murder. The SKM released a statement and distanced itself from the incident and the Nihangs.
In its statement, the SKM said it wanted to make it clear that “both the parties to the incident”, the Nihang group and the victim, have no relation with it. “The peaceful and democratic movement of the farmers is opposed to violence in any form,” it added.
Further, the farmer leaders demanded that the culprits be punished in accordance with the law after investigating the allegation of murder and the ‘conspiracy’ behind the sacrilege. The SKM promised to cooperate with the police in the investigation.
7. HOW DID BJP REACT?
Slamming farmer leaders over the incident that took place near their protest site, the BJP on Friday said that “anarchists behind these protests need to be exposed as they are doing a great disservice to the nation”.
Strongly condemning the incident, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia called it a ghastly murder.
He said, “The professional protesters who are masking themselves as farmers are doing great disservice to the nation. Those who take the life of an innocent man, rape women and insult the tricolour and justify the killings of citizens as reaction to the action cannot be termed as farmers.
Amit Malviya, in charge of BJP’s information and technology department, blamed farmer leader Rakesh Tikait for the murder. He took to Twitter to say that the gory murder would not have occurred if Rakesh Tikait had “not justified the mob lynching in Lakhimpur”.
8. WHAT DID CONGRESS SAY?
On being asked about the incident, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “There is no place at all whatsoever for violence anywhere in the country. This country is and must be governed by the rule of law. It is the government’s responsibility to get deep into this, investigate and let the law take its course.”
Congress leader Salman Anees Soz said the “gruesome murder” at the Singhu border was shocking and condemnable.
“Hope the perpetrators are quickly brought to justice. But there will now be an attempt to paint all protesters as killers. Just watch how low government supporters will go,” he said in a tweet.
9. NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES SEEKS REPORT
Meanwhile, National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman Vijay Sampla sought a report from the Director General of Police, Haryana, on the killing of the Dalit man at Singhu border within 24 hours.
Vijay Sampla also asked Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to take strict action in the matter immediately.
10. SINGHU MURDER REACHES SUPREME COURT
The case reached the Supreme Court with Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha having filed an application demanding an early hearing on the matter.
His application also demands that Singhu border, where farmers are agitating against the three farm law, be vacated.https://embed.indiatoday.in/share/video/India/MTg2NTI5Mw==
(With inputs from PTI)