New Delhi: Gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana, who is ‘wanted’ in connection with the Republic Day violence in the national capital, was on Tuesday seen at a farmers’ rally in Bathinda, Punjab. Sidhana openly addressed a rally at a farmers’ protest site in Bathinda’s Mehraj village, warning the Punjab Police against cooperating with the Delhi Police. Also Read - Who is Lakha Sidhana, Gangster-turned-Activist Named in Delhi's Tractor Rally Violence?
Sidhana asked people to “gherao” the Delhi Police personnel if they come to arrest the state youth, apparently referring to the Republic Day violence incident. He accused the Centre of trying to “create fear” in the minds of people with the arrest of youths with an intention of forcing them to withdraw from the agitation. Also Read - Punjab Farmer Dies by Suicide After Return From Delhi Protest
“If Delhi Police personnel come to arrest anyone in Punjab, then make announcements in villages, gather crowds and gherao them,” he said. Also Read - Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Vote Counting Updates From Punjab: AAP's Bhagwant Mann Retains Sangrur, Congress Wins Fatehgarh, Faridkot, Patiala, SAD Bags Bhatinda, Ferozepur
The gangster-turned-activist had given the call for the public meeting last week.
When asked why the Punjab Police did not arrest him, Inspector General (Bathinda Range) Jaskaran Singh said their job was to maintain law and order. “As per law, we cannot do that as we have not registered a case,” he said.
The Congress government in Punjab has backed the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three farm laws enacted last year. Punjab Police personnel were deployed near the rally site, which is the ancestral village of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Speaking at the rally, Sidhana also appealed to the Dalits to join the farmers’ agitation. “This agitation is not of any religion or caste. It is a fight of everyone,” he said.
He asked farmers leaders to hold a programme at the Delhi borders in coming days and exhorted the youth to join the protest sites in large numbers. He asked people to stay united, saying this struggle can only be won with unity.
Who is Lakha Sidhana? Why is he ‘wanted’?
The case goes back to Republic Day this year when thousands of protesters clashed with police during a tractor rally by farmers in the national capital. Many protesters reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, and some of them even hoisted religious flags on its domes.
In a video that appeared on social media prior to the day, Sidhana had appealed to people to take part in the programme in large numbers.
Lakhbir Singh, alias Lakha Sidhana, is resident of Bathinda in Punjab, and a big name in crime, as well as politics, in the state. The former gangster already has several cases registered against him in Punjab and was jailed many times. He had unsuccessfully contested the 2012 state assembly polls.