A Delhi court on Tuesday granted interim protection from arrest till July 19 to gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana in a case registered against him in connection with the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally at the Red Fort on Republic Day, Live Law reported.
The court also directed Sidhana to join the investigation. On June 26, Sidhana was granted protection from arrest till July 3 in another case related to the violence. The police have offered Rs 1 lakh as reward for information about Sidhana’s whereabouts.
The FIR in the case in which he was granted relief on Tuesday alleged that protestors disregarded the directions of the police during the tractor rally and obstructed police officials in discharging their duties. “The protestors started rioting causing injuries with swords and lathis and running over of the tractors over the police officials with intent to kill,” the first information report said.
Thousands of protestors had participated in a huge rally in Delhi on Republic Day to call for the repeal of the contentious farm laws. Some groups broke through barricades and clashed with the police, who used tear gas and batons to push them back.
Some protestors also forced their way into the Red Fort, climbed its ramparts and hoisted the Nishan Sahib, a religious flag that flies atop gurudwaras.
The Delhi Police claimed the incident was a “deep-rooted conspiracy” to embarrass India. They filed a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the incident and invoked sedition charges. Actor-activist Deep Sidhu, Sidhana and several others were named in the chargesheet filed in the case.
Thousands of farmers have camped outside Delhi since November, demanding that the central government repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. On June 26, they marked seven months of their movement with a protest march.
The farmers fear the policies will make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime. The government, however, continues to claim that the three legislations are pro-farmer.
The central government and the farmers have held 11 rounds of talks on the matter since December, but no consensus has been reached so far.
As the talks with the Centre failed to yield results, the farmers intensified their agitation with the tractor rally on Republic Day. One person was killed and over 300 police officers were injured during the rally.