Among the Punjab villages arrested for the tractor rally violence in Delhi, eight are from Bathinda’s Bangi Nihalsinghwala village. On Friday, a group of 18 from the village, including family members of arrested men, reached Tikri border, and said that they will not go back till FIRs against these men were quashed.
The eight from the Bathinda village were identified as Makhan Singh, Sandeep Singh alias Seepa, Lakhbir Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Varinder Singh, Simarjeet Singh, Gurpinder Singh and Jagsir Singh. While Makhan Singh is 35 years old, Lakhbir is 38 years of age, the other 6 are aged between 20-25 years.
All of them had gone to join the protest on the call of BKU (Sidhupur) and were new to the union. After a meeting with union president Jagjit Singh Dallewal, the village representatives and kin of the arrested men concluded that they will abide by the union’s decision in fight for justice for the arrested men.
Rajinder Singh, sarpanch of the village, said, “Union’s office bearers have told us that they will press upon the demand of quashing the FIRs as our boys were not involved in any activity of vandalism or flag hoisting. Hence, they will demand quashing of the FIRs. Village panchayat has decided not to apply for any bail of these boys and instead wait for getting the FIRs quashed.”
A group of nine boys from Bangi Nihalsinghwala village had gone to Delhi for Republic Day tractor march under the banner of BKU (Sidhupur). These nine persons going in a tractor-trolley when they were intercepted by police near Red Fort area and later taken to a police station.
Hardeep Singh Bangi, one of the villagers, said,”One villager Ranjodh Singh called us in the early hours of January 27 and told us that eight others were in the police station. Ranjodh was also along with them and was taken to the police station, however, he managed to jump the wall of the police station and run away from that area and somehow, reached Tikri border area from where he called. These boys had gone for the first time to Delhi and had no idea about the areas of Delhi. They did nothing inside Red Fort, they just got carried away and went behind the convoy going towards the outer ring road, they were not even aware of how to reach the Tikri border back and the cops told them that they could help them reach there. But instead they took them to the police station. Ranjodh who came out told us the whole story.”
Gurvinder Singh, brother of Gurpinder Singh, said, “On January 28, we got a call from Gurpinder that he is being sent to Tihar jail. Call was just for 1 minute. So was the call to the seven other families of boys who have been sent to jail. Hence, the entire village panchayat along with family members have reached the Tikri border. Now, we are going to stay put here till the time FIRs are not quashed. We will go by the decision of union.”
Labh Singh, Nambardar of the village, said, “Our boys were not involved in any flag hoisting or anything else, they were new to the city and did not even know how to reach Tikri. In the FIR which had been lodged against them, 7 more boys of other villages of Punjab are also there. So in all 15 of them have been sent to Tihar jail but we don’t know as who are the rest 7.”
Information revealed that 2-3 boys each from villages Bangi Deepa Singh, Bangi Ruldu Singh, Mannawala and Tarkhanwala which are nearby Bangi Nihalsinghwala have also not come back home after the tractor parade till now. It is being apprehended that even these boys may also be in police custody or sent to jail. Few others who have been sent to jail along with Bangi Nihasinghwala villagers were from Mansa, Muktsar and Ludhiana, revealed sources. Tractor-trolley of Bangi Nihalsinghwala villagers has also been impounded by cops.
In all, more than 200 persons were detained by Delhi Police and majority of them were from Punjab. On Thursday, BKU (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan had stated, “We strongly condemn Delhi police for rounding up 200 persons. I have heard that a number of villagers’ tractors are not being located while many villagers who had come in different groups with different unions are also not being located. Unions need to take up the matter of FIRs lodged against all these persons including union leaders.”
When on November 26, Delhi Chalo Morcha had started from Punjab, Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu had reportedly gone with a batch of BKU (Sidhupur) after breaking the barricades at Shambhu border. He was running a pucca morcha near Shambhu border on the road divider of NH-1 from where most of the supporters had walked along with the protesters towards Delhi. However, it is still not known as to whether the boys in question had gone under the influence of Deep Sidhu or not.