The police have arrested two Nihang Sikhs over 24 hours for allegedly killing and mutilating a labourer on Friday at a farmers’ protest site in Haryana, NDTV reported. The Nihangs are an order of Sikh “warriors”, distinct in their blue turbans, who are always armed.
The first arrest was made by Haryana Police late on Friday. Sarvjit Singh had surrendered before the police. He reportedly said he had “no regrets” about the killing.
“One Nihang Sikh has been taken into custody,” said Jashandeep Singh Randhawa, Sonipat superintendent of police, according to The Indian Express. “We are probing his role in the murder.”
Singh was produced in the court on Saturday, NDTV reported. The police requested for 14-day custody, saying that Singh had given them information on four suspects. They said that they also needed time to recover the murder weapons. The court sent him to seven days’ police custody.
On Saturday, Amritsar Police made the second arrest, the Hindustan Times reported.Narain Singh surrendered before them in Amritsar’s Amarkot Village.
The police on Friday had found labourer Lakhbir Singh’s body tied to a barricade with his hands and legs severed. Singh was from a Scheduled Caste. A group of Nihang Sikhs claimed responsibility for the killing in a video.
The video purportedly shows the injured man lying in a pool of blood. The Nihangs, surrounding him, could be heard asking his name and native village.
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.
On Saturday, Randhawa said that the claim of desecrating the holy book was yet to be verified, The Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, Lakhbir Singh’s family on Saturday said he was “lured” into insulting the holy scriptures, according to India Today.
“He [Lakhbir Singh] was an [drug] addict,” said Lakhbir Singh’s brother-in-law Sukhchen Singh. “We feel someone lured him to do ‘beaadbi’ [insult] of our Holy Book.”
Sukhchen Singh said he had not expected Lakhbir Singh, who had left home last week, to be at the Singhu border with Nihang Sikhs.
“He could never target Guru Granth Sahib or Nihangs,” Sukhchen Singh said. “We feel there was someone who was luring him or provoking him to do such things in lieu of money.”