Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu, facing backlash from farmers for trying to defame their agitation against farm laws, has been named in Delhi Police’s FIR over the January 26 violence at the Red Fort. Besides, the FIR also names gangster-turned-social activist Lakha Sidhana for the Republic Day violence at Red Fort, officials said.
The case was registered at Kotwali police station of North district under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, and other legislations, they said. Provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act and the Arms Act have also been added in the FIR.
The police has invoked IPC sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 152 (assaulting or obstructing public servant when suppressing riot, etc), 397 (robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), and 307 (attempt to murder), they said.
Farmers have accused Sidhu of planting the ‘Nishan Sahib’ at the Red Fort, an act that has provoked outrage, especially on social media. In a Facebook post on January 26, the 36-year-old actor defended the act, saying ‘Nishan Sahib’ was put up at Red Fort as a symbolic protest, and the tricolour was not removed.
In a Facebook video on Wednesday night, he said that if he’s being labelled a traitor, then all farmer leaders are traitors. “If you claim lakhs of people were instigated by me, what kind of leaders are you? Will an RSS-BJP person put the Nishan Sahib flag on Red Fort? You are calling lakhs of farmers gaddars,” said the actor-activist.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni has accused Sidhu of being a government agent and of misleading the youth. Samyukt Kisan Morcha member Hannan Mollah has claimed Sidhu, who was the election agent of BJP MP Sunny Deol, had led the charge at Red Fort. He alleged sabotage.
आज लाल क़िले पर जो हुआ उसे देख कर मन बहुत दुखी हुआ है, मैं पहले भी, 6 December को ,Twitter के माध्यम से यह साफ कर चुका हूँ कि मेरा या मेरे परिवार का दीप सिद्धू के साथ कोई संबंध नही है।
— Sunny Deol (@iamsunnydeol) January 26, 2021
On January 26, however, actor-turned-politician Deol said that he has already made it clear on Twitter, on December 6, “that I or my family has no connection with Deep Sidhu.” In his December 6 statement, Deol had said Sidhu was with him during election but has not been there with him since long time, and that the MP is not related to Sidhu’s activities.
— Sunny Deol (@iamsunnydeol) December 6, 2020
Sidhu had already been under the enforcement agencies’ scanner. Two weeks ago, he was summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a sedition case against US-based banned pro-Khalistan group ‘Sikhs For Justice’.
The Red Fort will remain closed for visitors from January 27 to January 31, according to an order issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). While the order does not mention the reason behind closure, it refers to earlier orders of January 6 and January 18 whereby the iconic monument was closed from January 19 to January 22 due to a bird flu alert.
Thousands of protesting farmers who reached ITO from the Ghazipur border clashed with police. Many of them driving tractors reached Red Fort and entered the monument. They also hoisted flags on the domes and the flagstaff at the ramparts of the national monument at which national tricolour is unfurled by the prime minister on Independence Day.
(With inputs from agencies)