The family of the victim of the Singhu border killing said they had not intended to protest against anti-farm laws farmers or Nihang Sikhs on October 27. (Photo: File/Representative)
In an exclusive interview with India Today, the family of the victim of the Singhu border killing that took place earlier this month said they had not intended to protest against anti-farm laws farmers or Nihang Sikhs on October 27.
The family of victim Lakhbir Singh said they were brought from Punjab to Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (UP) by members of the Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (HMKS), a UP-based farmers’ group.
On October 27, hundreds of farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand led by the HMKS were stopped on their way to Delhi’s Singhu border where they wanted to stage a demonstration against the lynching of Lakhbir Singh. His family was also present.
The demonstrators were stopped near Narela by the Delhi Police. As the numbers of protesters swelled, the police had resorted to lathi-charge.
Speaking to India Today now, Lakhbir Singh’s brother-in-law Sukhchen Singh said, “We came to Delhi [on October 27] to seek compensation and secure the future of Lakhbir’s daughters and their education. But we did not intend to protest against the agitating farmers [sitting at Singhu border] or Nihangs. We were not in favour of the havan or antim ardas [final prayer] organised by HMKS.”
He added, “We told the organisers that we won’t participate in the havan. We did not want to create a security threat for the whole family back in Punjab. We felt scared and pressurised after the lathi-charge at Narela.”
HOW DID HMKS RESPOND?
On the other hand, the HMKS has claimed that Lakhbir Singh’s family wanted to conduct the antim ardas at Singhu border.
“Lakhbir Singh’s family contacted us and we then met them in UP. The family said they want justice and compensation. They claimed their demands are not being heard in Punjab. So we did the havan at Narela,” said Chandra Mohan, national president of HMKS.
Meanwhile, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmers’ groups that are protesting against the Centre’s farm laws, has alleged that the HMKS is linked with the BJP and Union minister Sanjeev Balyan.
Old photographs of an HMKS delegation accompanying Sanjeev Balyan to meet Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar are doing the rounds on social media. The HMKS is also one of the farmers’ groups that has backed the Centre’s farm laws.
However, the HMKS has denied allegations of any connection with the BJP. “Balyan is our local MP, hence he attended our functions,” they told India Today.
HMKS national president Chandra Mohan added, “We have supported the CAA in the past. But the SKM should clarify its connection with the government. Why has no action been taken against them despite the Red Fort violence and cases of rape and murder at the farmers’ protest site?”
SINGHU BORDER KILLING
On October 15, Dalit worker Lakhbir Singh was lynched, his hand chopped off and his body tied to a metal barricade at the farmers’ protest site near the Delhi-Haryana border.