There was much anxiety and tension: Protesters try to come to terms with brutality of lynching at Singhu
New Delhi: Tension prevailed at the farmers' protest site at Singhu border on Friday following the brutal killing of a man with the protesters seeking to dissociate their agitation from the incident.
The protesting farmers huddled in small groups to discuss the repercussions of the killing. They also maintained a distance from the journalists who went to Singhu border to cover the incident.
A few mediapersons claimed that some protesters manhandled them when they tried talking to them. A news channel cameraperson was chased away by a group of people when he tried to reach the incident spot.
The deceased, Lakhbir Singh, was a labourer from Cheema Khurd village in Punjab's Tarn Taran district and was aged around 35 years, police said, adding that his body was found tied to an overturned police barricade near a stage put up by the farmers protesting at the site for over 10 months.
In a video clip that has gone viral on social media platforms, some Nihangs are seen standing as the man lies on the ground in a pool of blood with his chopped off left hand lying next to him.
The Nihangs are heard in the clip saying the man has been punished for desecrating a holy book of the Sikhs.
Some protesting farmers claimed that there were two groups of people — one that wanted to punish the man while the other was against taking law in their hands.
The incident happened around 4.30 am. The deceased disrespected Guru Granth Sahib by placing it an unclean place, claimed Sukhwinder Singh at Singhu border.
"The situation in the morning was tense as people were angry about the incident. There are two parties. One who are saying that taking law in hand is not the appropriate thing, while the other faction was with the sentiments of Guru Granth Sahib," he said.
Police barricades were already placed way before the protest site on the road leading to the site.
Another protester Ravinder Singh said that the situation came under control when people got to know about the facts of the incident.
"There was much anxiety and tension in the morning. No one has right to play with religious sentiments while killing someone is also not the right thing. the guilty person should have been been handed over to police," he said.
One of the farmers leaders Yogendra Yadav in a video message tried to dissociate the farmers protest from the incident.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions against three agriculture laws of the Centre, said a group of Nihangs has claimed responsibility for the brutal killing after the deceased allegedly attempted to desecrate the Sarbloh Granth, a holy book of the Sikhs.