The body of a man with his hands and legs chopped off was found near a farmers’ protest site in Kundli town of Haryana’s Sonipat district on Friday morning, ANI reported, quoting the police.
The deceased has been identified as Lakhbir Singh, a Scheduled Caste labourer in his mid-thirties from Tarn Taran district of Punjab, the Haryana Police said. The body has been sent for a postmortem examination.
In a first information report in the matter, the police have charged unidentified persons with murder. On Friday morning, the police received information about a mutilated body being found at the protest site, the FIR stated. After reaching the spot, they found Lakhbir Singh’s body tied to a barricade with his hands and legs severed, the FIR added.
A group of Nihang Sikhs claimed responsibility for the killing in a video, The Indian Express reported. The Nihangs are an order of Sikh warriors, distinct in their blue turbans with their long swords and horses.
Sonipat Deputy Superintendent of Police Hansraj told reporters that the video was being investigated, ANI reported.
The video purportedly shows the injured man lying in a pool of blood, according to PTI. The Nihangs, surrounding him, could be heard asking his name and native village.
In the FIR, the police said that Nihang Sikhs present at the site did not cooperate with the investigation and did not allow them to remove the body from the barricade.
Sonipat Superintendent of Police Jashandeep Singh Randhawa said that videos on social media showed a group of Nihang Sikhs claiming that Lakhbir Singh had disrespected a holy book of the Sikhs.
“It is suspected that he was beaten up and killed by some Nihang Sikhs,” Randhawa said. “This is a matter of investigation.”
He added that “vital clues” have been recovered from the crime scene and that police will soon arrest the accused.
‘No place for violence’
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions leading the protest against the Centre’s agricultural laws, condemned the killing and denied having links with Lakhbir Singh and Nihang Sikhs, ANI reported.
The farmers’ body said that it was against religious sacrilege, but nobody had the right to take law into their hands.
“As always, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha will cooperate with the police and the administration in any lawful action,” the farmers’ body said.
At a press conference at Delhi’s Singhu border, Samyukt Kisan Morcha leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said the “conspiracy” in the case should be looked into.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera urged the Haryana government to investigate the case, saying that there was “no place at all whatsoever for violence anywhere in the country”.
Bharatiya Janata Party Information Technology cell head Amit Malviya said that “anarchists” behind the farmers protests should be exposed.
“Had [farmer leader] Rakesh Tikait not justified mob lynching in Lakhimpur, with [Swaraj India leader] Yogendra Yadav, sitting next to him, maintaining sanctimonious silence, the gory murder of a youth at Kundali border would not have happened,” he said.
On October 9, Tikait had said that the alleged killing of BJP workers during the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh was a “reaction to an action”.
The violence at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh had left eight people, including four farmers dead, on October 3. Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle which was part of Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra’s convoy ran over the protestors. They have claimed the vehicle belonged to Ashish Mishra.
Three people who were in the vehicle had also died in the violence. Two of them were reportedly BJP workers while the third person was said to have been employed by Ajay Mishra as a driver.