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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Singhu Lynching: Three Nihang Sikhs sent to six days’ police custody

Police claimed that the three accused — Narain Singh, Bhagwant Singh and Govind Preet Singh — have confessed to the murder, and cited “desecration” of the Sikh holy book as the reason.

Written by Pavneet Singh Chadha , Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh, Gurgaon |
Updated: October 18, 2021 8:29:24 am
Police personnel with accused Nihang Singh for his alleged involvement in the murder of Lakhbir Singh, who was killed at a farmers' agitation site in Delhi, during a media briefing in Amritsar, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (PTI Photo)

THE DISTRICT and sessions court in Sonipat remanded three Nihang Sikhs, who were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of 35-year-old Lakhbir Singh at the farmers’ protest site at Singhu border, in six days police custody.

Police claimed that the three accused – Narain Singh, Bhagwant Singh and Govind Preet Singh – have confessed to the murder, and cited “desecration” of the Sikh holy book as the reason.

The police had sought 14 days remand for identification of other accused in the case and for recovery of murder weapons.

Deputy SP (law and order), Sonipat, Virender Singh said, “The three accused were produced in court and sent to six days police custody. We had pleaded the court for 14 days custody, stating that certain recoveries [weapons, blood stained clothes] had to be made and to identify and arrest other co-accused from locations in Punjab. One sword has been recovered from Narain Singh. He claims to have slashed the victim’s leg with the sword.”

Police said the claim of desecration of the holy book is yet to be verified.

“So far, there is no video footage of the alleged act [of desecration]. In preliminary questioning, the accused have given varying statements regarding the version of events of that day,” said DSP Singh.

Late on Saturday night, the police and crime branch of Sonipat arrested two Nihang Sikhs – Bhagwant Singh and Govind Preet Singh – hours after they had “surrendered” to the police for their alleged role in the lynching of Lakhbir Singh. In a video clip Saturday night, Nihang leaders told media persons that the men were going to surrender to the police.

While Bhagwant is from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Govind Preet is from Jalandhar in Punjab. Both are part of Fatehgarh Dera in Punjab.

On Saturday, another accused, Sarabjit Singh (37), was produced in court. Police had sought his remand for 14 days but the court had sent him to police custody for seven days. According to a lawyer associated with the case, all four accused will be produced before the court together after completion of the remand period.

The police said that during questioning, the accused said the victim was an “agent” who had been sent by nefarious elements to sabotage the farmers’ protests.

The accused were identified through several videos, which were shared on social media following the incident, said the police.

On Sunday evening, several groups of Nihang leaders at Singhu border demanded an independent probe into the October 15 incident, calling it a “big conspiracy”.

“It should be probed who sent him (victim) here? Some are asking for evidence of sacrilege. In earlier sacrilege cases [Bargari, Kotkapura], there was sufficient evidence, but no action was taken and culprits were released,” said Balwinder Singh, from Panth Akali Nirwair Khalsa, Udna Dal.

An investigator said that as many as six of the 37 injuries found on Lakhbir Singh’s body were caused by a sharp-edged weapon. The police have collected blood samples of the deceased from the spot. Now, the recovered swords and clothes of the accused with blood stains will be sent to the FSL Madhuban for examination.

Till now, the police have recovered two swords allegedly used in the crime. One was allegedly recovered from Narain Singh and second from Sarabjit Singh. The police will try to recover more weapons during the remand of the accused.

A police officer said: “The arrested Nihags have said that they don’t know the names of other accused who were involved in dragging Lakhbir Singh and his killing, but can give information about their whereabouts. We will make arrests only after proper verification because sometimes accused give false names too because of personal enmity.”

Haryaya Police sets up two SITs to conduct probe

Meanwhile, the Haryana Police has set up two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) to probe the incident. One SIT headed by IPS officer Mayank Gupta, who is the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kharkhoda, Sonipat, will investigate the videos of the incident which were circulating on social media. The second SIT led by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sonipat, Virender Singh will carry out the overall probe into the case.

(With PTI inputs)

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