A second member of the Nihang Sikh, who was allegedly involved in killing farm labourer Lakhbir Singh at the Singhu border on Friday, was arrested by the Punjab police on Saturday. The second accused, Narayan Singh, was arrested from Rakh Devidass Pura at Amarkot village in the district.
Rakesh Kaushal, Amritsar Rural SSP, said, "Two Nihangs had allegedly murdered Lakhbir Singh. One was arrested by the Haryana Police and Singh had managed to escape. A team of officials was formed and forces were deployed around his house. He had announced that he would surrender before the police on Saturday."
Kaushal said, "We have arrested him outside a Gurudwara in his village. When he realized that he cannot escape, he came out. The Haryana police informed us that their team has left Sonipat. We will hand him over as per law."
The SSP further said, "He has confessed that they killed Lakhbir. He says that when he was told the Lakhbir insulted Guru Granth Sahib, he got angry & cut off his leg. Lakhbir bled to death."
Singhu border case: 2 more surrender before police
Two more accused have surrendered before Sonipat Police in connection with the lynching of a Dalit labourer at a farmers' protest site even as the victim's family questioned the attackers' claim that he committed sacrilege and demanded a high-level probe. The mortal remains of Lakhbir Singh were cremated at his native village in Punjab's Tarn Taran amid tight security in the presence of his family members. No Sikh priest was present to perform Ardas (Sikh religious prayer) and no one from his village, Cheema Kalan, attended the last rites.
The first accused Sarabjit Singh, arrested on Friday for the brutal killing of Lakhbir Singh, was produced before a Sonipat court in Haryana and remanded in police custody for seven days.
Hours later, Narain Singh, who is also a Nihang, was arrested by the Amritsar Rural police at Amarkot village in Amritsar district, police said.
Late Saturday evening, two more belonging to the Nihang order, who hailed from Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib, "surrendered" before the Sonipat police in Kundli in connection with the gruesome killing. They interacted with the media at the Singhu border before "surrendering".
Sources said that police will question them in connection with the case before making a formal arrest which is expected later in the night. After this, the number of those arrested in the case will go up to four.
In Amritsar, Narain Singh claimed he had informed the police that he was surrendering. Talking to the media before his arrest, he was unrepentant and said that Lakhbir Singh had been "punished for sacrilege".
He said that the accused in the Bargari sacrilege incident in Punjab were yet to be arrested, but now if somebody will commit "such a heinous crime he would be punished on the spot".
Narain Singh was given a robe of honour and a garland of currency notes by some people when he paid obeisance in the Amarkot Gurdwara before his arrest.
According to police, Sarabjit Singh claimed the involvement of a few more people in the killing, which has sparked outrage and triggered calls for action to clear the protest sites on Delhi's borders where farmers have been camping since last November to press for the scrapping of the Centre's three agri laws.
Singhu Border case: The background
The body of Lakhbir Singh was found on Friday tied to a barricade at the Singhu border with a hand chopped off and multiple wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons. Hours after the crime, Sarabjit Sigh, wearing the blue robes of the Nihang order, claimed that he had "punished" the victim for "desecrating" a Sikh holy book.
Questioning his claim, the victim's wife Jaspreet Kaur and sister 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.
Sonipat's Deputy Superintendent of Police Virender Singh said the total number of accused in the killing could be more than five.
Meanwhile, farmer union leaders asserted on Saturday that the incident will have no impact on the agitation and said they will upgrade security by installing CCTV cameras and increasing the number of volunteers at the protest sites.