“Punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu is the “main instigator” of the violence on Republic Day at the Red Fort during the farmers’ tractor rally,” is what the Delhi Police on Tuesday told a court.
Sidhu was arrested on Tuesday morning by the Delhi Police Special Cell from near Karnal and was produced at Tis Hazari court in the afternoon from where he was sent to seven days’ police custody by the judge.
“Deep Sidhu instigated the riots. He is the main instigator. In a video, he is seen entering the ramparts of the Red Fort with the supporters, who are carrying ‘lathis’ and swords,” the Delhi Police apprised the court during the course of proceedings.
The police further told Metropolitan Magistrate Pragiya Gupta that Sidhu patted the back of Jugraj Singh who hoisted the religious flag at the monument. “He instigated the crowd which resulted in violence,” the police said while seeking his custody for interrogation.
The custody was sought for a multitude of reasons, including his visit to Mumbai, Punjab and Haryana to explore links, identify and arrest his supporters and recover phones with different SIMs used by him.
The defence counsels strongly opposed the police’s remand application and said that their client had nothing to do with the violence and was merely “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Slogans of “Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” were raised outside the court when Sidhu was produced before it amid high security earlier on Tuesday.
Sidhu is accused of fuelling chaos and clashes when the tractor rally by farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws took a violent turn on Republic Day.
During the clashes, a section of protesters had entered the Red Fort and hoisted a Sikh religious flag. Sidhu had absconded after the incident. Last week, police had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information on Sidhu and others.
On January 31, Sidhu uploaded a 15-minute video message, titled ‘Straight from my soul’, on his Facebook account.
In the video, he was seen giving an emotional statement in Punjabi, which loosely translates to: “I am being defamed…I had left my whole life behind and come here to join the Punjabis in their protest. But now I am being labelled a traitor.”
(With IANS inputs)