Hours after a man's body with a severed wrist was found tied to a barricade at a farmers' protest site on the outskirts of Delhi, a member of the Nihang community came forward and said that he was responsible for the crime and had done it to 'punish' the victim for the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib.
The accused, identified later as Sarabjit Singh, a Nihang, has been remanded to police custody for seven days.
The body of Lakhbir Singh, a labourer from Punjab's Tarn Taran district, was found on Friday tied to a barricade at the Delhi-Haryana border where the anti-farm law protesters gave been camping, with a hand chopped off and multiple wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons, a gruesome incident that was blamed on a group of Nihangs.
As per PTI, a senior police official of Sonipat police said that while seeking Sarabjit's custody, police submitted before the court that they have to make certain recoveries from the arrested accused.
The official said that Sarabjit has named four more people during interrogations while pointing to their involvement in the incident.
"We produced Sarabjit before the court. The accused has been remanded in seven days' police custody by the court," Sonipat's Deputy Superintendent of Police, Virender Singh said over the phone.
"The accused has pointed to the involvement of four more people in the case and taken their names... we are conducting further investigations in this regard. We have to make some recoveries from the arrested accused including the weapon used in the crime and the clothes he was wearing," he said.
The total number of accused in the crime could be more than five, the DSP said, adding further investigations were on.
After the macabre crime took place, Sarabjit had appeared before the media, stating that he took took full responsibility for the incident and that he had no regrets and that he was ready to do things like this again if someone "dares to do a crime like sacrilege again".
Hindustan Times also reported that he chanted 'Jo Bole So Nihal' as he was taken into custody by the cops.
Meanwhile, the family of the victim, who was identified as Lakhbir Singh " a Dalit farm labourer and a resident of village Cheema Khurd in Tarn Taran district of Punjab " has demanded justice and said that the guilty should be punished.
His wife Jaspreet Kaur and three daughters aged 12, 11 and eight years live in a small temporary house made of mud and bricks in village Cheema Kalan, around 50 km away from the holy city of Amritsar. His son passed away two years ago.
The family was barely managing two square meals a day when Lakhbir was alive and would work in the village fields or in the grain market of Tarn Taran district for his livelihood. "Who will come forward to look after his family now and what about the future of his children..who will help them?", lamented his sister Raj Kaur.
Jaspreet Kaur and Raj Kaur said Lakhbir Singh "had a deep respect for the holy Guru Granth Sahib.
"He was a god-fearing man who could not never think of desecrating a holy book... Whenever he used to go to a Gurdwara, he would pray for the well-being of his family and the society, said Jaspreet Kaur.
He had no criminal record and there was no report of him being a bad character, the victim's family said and demanded a high-level probe into the entire episode to bring out the truth.
Jaspreet and Raj Kaur said even if it is assumed for a moment that Lakhbir had done something wrong, those who killed him in such a barbaric manner should have given him time to prove his innocence, or they could have handed him over to the police.
"At no stage could they be the deciding authority while running their own self-styled court which pronounced punishment and then murdered him inhumanly. Where does the law of land prevail here? said his grieving sister.
The family also claimed, as per ANI, that Lakhbir was a drug addict and that he was lured to the Singhu border.
"He was lured into going there. It should be probed and he must get justice," said Baldev Singh.
Punjab: Family members & relatives of Lakhbir Singh, who was killed at Singhu near Delhi-Haryana border, say he was an addict&lured to Singhu border
"He was lured in to going there. It should be probed& he must get justice," his father-in-law said at his home in Taran Tarn y'day pic.twitter.com/1T1kZa0ZsI
- ANI (@ANI) October 16, 2021
Earlier on Friday morning, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Hansraj said that about 5 am on Friday, the Kundli police station received information about a body of a man hanged near a stage where the farmers have been protesting at the Singhu border.
"A police inspector reached the site with a team and found that the man's body only had his undergarment on and his hands had been chopped off. He was found hanging on the police barricade," he added.
The incident also evoked strong reactions from political parties.
Bharatiya Janata Party's IT cell chief said had Rakesh Tikait not "justified" lynching in Lakhimpur Kheri, with Yogendra Yadav sitting next to him maintaining sanctimonious silence, the gory murder of a man at Kundli border would not have happened.
"Anarchists behind these protests in the name of farmers need to be exposed," he said.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy demanded that the incident be probed by the government and a report be made public in a week.
"The Singhu border horrible decapitation and hanging of Lakhveer need to be probed by the government and a report made public in a week," he said.
Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said those who believe in humanity can never justify what happened at the Singhu border.
"Violence is condemnable and appalling. I am personally very pained by it," he tweeted.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi also tweeted on the incident, saying, "What a sad and condemnable turn of events, fight for justice cannot become means to violence and deaths. This is shameful and the guilty need to be punished. Shameful."
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the "horrifying murder and hanging of the body at Singhu border is shameful, gruesome and a spine chilling act".
Former diplomat KC Singh also condemned the "gruesome murder" at Singhu and asserted that no crime justifies acts one associate with ISIS/Al Qaeda or vigilantism in Pakistan.
With inputs from agencies