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.
On Friday, the nation was rocked when a man who had been lynched, his hand chopped off and the body bearing over 10 wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons was found tied to a barricade at a farmers' protest site at Kundli.
The accused, identified as Nihang Saravjeet Singh surrendered to the police on Friday, saying he took full responsibility for the incident, said a News18 report.
Hindustan Times reported that before being taken away by the cops, Singh said that he was ready to do things like this again if someone "dares to do a crime like sacrilege again".
The report added that he chanted 'Jo Bole So Nihal' as he was taken into custody by the cops.
Singh will be produced in court on Saturday.
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?", laments his sister Raj Kaur.
Hours after the macabre crime, a man wearing the blue robes of the Sikhs' Nihang order claimed that he had "punished" the victim for "desecrating" a Sikh holy book. The man, identified as Sarabjit Singh from Vitwha in Punjab's Gurdaspur district, was later arrested for the lynching.
Questioning his claim, 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.
His family members including sister-in-law Simranjit Kaur and mother-in-law Sawinder Kaur told the media that Lakhbir Singh and his sister Raj Kaur were adopted by a retired army man Harnam Singh who was issueless.
Harnam Singh, however, is now no more.
The family claimed that Lakhbir had no affiliation with any of the political outfits and never went to any political rally in support of any political person. Asked why Lakhbir had gone to the Singhu border, Raj Kaur said, Someone might have offered him more money (for labour).
Speaking to news agency ANI, Baldev Singh, Lakhbir Singh's father-in-law said: "We do not know how he reached Singhu border and who has taken him there. I received a call from my daughter in the morning and she told me that Lakhbir is found dead at the Singhu border."
He said that Lakhbir was a daily wager and used to go to different places for his work. "He has three daughters and a wife in his family. How will they survive now without him?"
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
Lakhbir's sister also added that she couldn't believe that he could desecrate the Guru Granth Sahib. "He took Rs 50 and said he was going for work in Chabal and will return after seven days. I thought he went to work there. He was not such a person (to commit desecration of Guru Granth Sahib). The perpetrators must be punished," said Raj Kaur.
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