CHANDIGARH: Strongly condemning the gruesome killing of a man at the Singhu border, senior BJP leader and former Union minister Rattan Lal Kataria on Saturday said the Samyukt Kisan Morcha cannot escape from the responsibility for what happened at their protest site.

“The way one used to hear about barbaric crime and killings carried out by the Taliban, in similar fashion Lakhbir Singh was done to death,” Kataria, the MP from Ambala, said.

“The responsibility of any incident happening at the protest site (of farmers) lies with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). They cannot escape from the responsibility for what has happened at their protest site,” he said.

Lakhbir Singh, a 36-year-old Dalit farm labourer, was lynched on Friday allegedly by a group of Nihangs who accused him of desecrating a Sikh holy book.

His body was found tied to an overturned police barricade at the Singhu border protest site, with the left hand chopped off and multiple wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons.

Kataria said the Haryana Police faced resistance and great difficulty in reaching the incident site on Friday.

“What were the farmer union leaders doing?” he asked.

In a statement, the SKM had on Friday said that “both the parties to the incident”, the Nihang group and the victim, had no relation with the Morcha.

The peaceful and democratic movement of the farmers is opposed to violence in any form, the SKM statement had said.

The BJP leader said no matter how big a mistake a person may have committed, the law of the land does not give anyone the right to kill.

“There are no words enough to condemn this gruesome killing, in which a group of Nihangs inflicted injuries on Lakhbir Singh and later tied up his body with a metal barricade,” he said.

Kataria said last year, a Punjab policeman’s hand was chopped off with a sword and his six colleagues injured in an attack allegedly by a group of Nihangs at a village market in Patiala when the accused were asked to produce curfew passes.

The policeman’s hand was later reattached after a surgery at the PGIMER in Chandigarh.

Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal also condemned the incident, saying “there is no place for such incidents in a civilised society”.

Hitting out at the barbaric incident, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “There should be a thorough investigation into the entire incident and those guilty should be punished.”

He said the government should also hold dialogue with the protesting farmers and resolve the issue at the earliest.


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