Chandigarh: In a grotesque incident, the body of a 35-year-old man was found hanging on a police barricade with his hand and leg chopped off.
The incident took place near the Singhu border in Sonepat where farmers have been protesting for the last ten months.
According to a Haryana Police spokesperson, around 5 am on Friday, the Kundli police received information that some Nihangs had lynched a person and tied him to a barricade.
As soon as the police reached the spot they saw some people standing around the crime spot. The group resisted when efforts were made to take possession of the body for post-mortem but gave in later.
A case has been registered under Section 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code. The deceased has been identified as Lakhbir Singh, a resident of Chimakhurd in Tarn Taran, Punjab.
Police sources said two persons, Baba Amandeep Singh and Baba Narayan Singh, have been identified as prime suspects in the case. According to a news portal, Saravjeet Singh, a member of the Nihang community, has surrendered and taken responsibility for the killing.
According to the police, the 35-year-old victim was a Dalit labourer; an adopted son, he is survived by a sister, wife and three daughters, the eldest of whom is just 12 and the youngest eight. He had no political affiliations or criminal record.
In no time some videos started doing the rounds; in the clip one can see persons dressed as Nihangs standing around Lakhbir and asking him questions. (The Nihangs are a warrior Sikh group whose origins can be traced back to the time of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. They wear blue robes and carry spears and swords.)
Another video shows the group standing over him after his left hand has been severed and he lies bleeding. A third shows Lakhbir on the ground as the men film his dying moments.
Reports also stated Lakhbir was beaten to death after his left hand and right foot were cut off for allegedly desecrating the Sarabloh Granth. His killers then tied the body to a police barricade and left it there to be discovered.
The Sarabloh Granth, literally translated, means the Scripture of the Omnipresent. But unlike Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), the Sarabloh Granth, barring some parts, is not recognised by the mainstream Sikh community.
The Nihangs, however, hold it in high esteem.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers' unions which is leading the protests at Singhu, has condemned and distanced itself from the murder. “We want to make it clear that both sides, the Nihangs and the deceased, have no relation with the Kisan Morcha,” it said.
The group added that while it abhorred religious sacrilege, nobody could take the law into their hands and offered the police its support.
A police officer connected with the investigations remarked while allegations of desecration are being probed, a brawl could have led to the brutal killing. “We are looking at all angles and not just desecration,” he added.
The incident has sent shockwaves across Punjab.
Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal condemned the entire sequence of events at Singhu border and demanded a fair and impartial probe into the heinous crime, including the allegations of sacrilege. “There is no place in a civilised society either for heinous acts of sacrilege or for barbaric violence,” he said.
“Allegations that the entire sequence of events is a part of a deep-rooted conspiracy to sabotage the long, peaceful and democratic struggle of the farmers against the three black laws also need a thorough, fair and impartial probe.” Badal said in a statement in a statement issued late on Friday.
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