A second arrest was made on Saturday in connection with the murder of a man at the site of the farmers’ protest at the Singhu border, with the “surrender” of Narain Singh at Amritsar in Punjab.
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Narain, a member of the Nihang Sikh community from Amarkot village, was arrested by the Amritsar rural police.
News agencies reported late in the evening that two more persons, belonging to the Nihang order from Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab, had “surrendered” before the Sonipat police in Kundli in connection with the killing.
Lakhbir Singh, a resident of Tarn Taran in Punjab, was found dead at Sonipat in Haryana on Friday. The body was tied to a police barricade with the wrist and leg severed. He was “punished” for allegedly desecrating the holy Sikh scripture.
The prime accused Sarabjit, also a Nihang Sikh, who was arrested by the Haryana police a few hours after the murder, was remanded in police custody for seven days by the District and Sessions Court in Sonipat on Saturday.
Soon after his arrest, Narain claimed that he had informed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar, over phone that he wanted to surrender.
He said he had sought permission to visit the Akal Takht, but the police took him into custody near Jandiala town, around 25 km from Amritsar.
Talking to reporters before his arrest, Narain said Lakhbir was “punished” allegedly for the sacrilege. Members of many Sikh outfits reportedly garlanded him with currency notes when he paid obeisance at a gurdwara.
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The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer organisations protesting against the three farm laws, has demanded an investigation into “the allegation of conspiracy to sabotage the movement through sacrilege and promotion of disturbance by hurting religious sentiments”.
“From media reports from the victim’s village and family, it appears that he had been receiving mysterious calls which he would take in secrecy. Victim Lakhbir Singh is supposed to have told his sister that ‘his reach has increased now and has gone far’. After a wedding in the village, he is supposed to have gone away with someone in the attire of a Nihang Sikh and landed up with a Nihang group in Singhu Border since then. All this information points to a deep conspiracy of some sort as SKM has been pointing out,” the Morcha said in a statement.
The autopsy report of Lakhbir has revealed 37 wounds, including six wounds caused by sharp-edged and pointed weapons.
“The rest are lacerated and abrasion wounds caused by blunt weapons. The report attributed the death to haemorrhagic shock,” said Virender Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Law and Order, Sonipat.
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Later in the afternoon Lakhbir Singh was cremated at his native village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran amid tight security in the presence of his family members. No Sikh priest was present to perform Ardas (Sikh funeral prayer) and no one from his village,Cheema Kalan, attended the last rites.
“Sarabjit has named four people, including Narain Singh, for their involvement in the murder. He said that more people were involved and he could identify them,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.
Producing Sarabjit before the court of Kimmi Singla, Judicial Magistrate First Class, the Haryana Police sought 14 days remand for the identification of the co-accused in the case and recovery of the murder weapon and blood-stained clothes.
“The police told the court that the accused was to be taken to Punjab’s Chamkaur Sahib and Gurdaspur for the identification and arrest of the co-accused. They also pleaded that the murder weapon and the blood-stained clothes of the accused were to be seized from Kundli,” said Sarabjit’s counsel Monarch Bhardwaj.
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Mr. Bhardwaj said the court directed the police to make a Daily Dairy entry at the local police station whenever he was taken away in connection with the investigation during his custody and conduct daily medical examination. The court also allowed the accused access to his counsel for an hour daily, said Mr. Bhardwaj.
(with inputs from Vikas Vasudeva)