On Saturday (July 3), a Delhi court extended the interim protection of gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana in connection to his role in the violence in Delhi on Republic Day (January 26) this year.
While hearing the case, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said, “We do not want Jail Bharo Andolan to start. These are political issues. If they (protesters) wanted to highlight the issue, are they wrong? I will not intervene in things where fundamental rights are involved.” As such, the Court extended the accused’s interim protection from July 3 to July 20. He had directed the police to not arrest the accused and told Sidhana to join the probe against him.
During the hearing, when the prosecution said that the accused is a former gangster, advocate Jasdeep S Dhillon, one of the advocates of Sidhana, accepted that he was a gangster, but added that he has turned an activist now. “He is an activist who was a gangster. He is a farmer,” the lawyer said.
The Gangster’s lawyer also claimed that Lakha was not named in any case. However, the prosecution denied that saying that he is named in as many as 20 cases, and the FIRs against him relates to murder, robbery etc. The public prosecutor Pankaj Bhatia said that he was a gangster and is nowhere related to farming. He added that the gangster wants to get entry into politics. Bhatia said that Lakha had reached Red Fort and he had broken the barricades, which is seen in videos.
However, the court questioned the need of custodial interrogation in the case, and said that it will ask the accused to cooperate in the probe. “There is no purpose of giving interrogation when there is nothing,” the court added.
According to public prosecutor Pankaj Bhatia, Sidhana was one of the main conspirators of the Red Fort violence and desecration of the Indian tricolour. The accused had then filed an application for anticipatory bail in the Tis Hazari Court in Delhi. He was represented by advocates Jasdeep Dhillon and Jaspreet Singh Rai. Sidhana claimed that he had no role in the violence. The police have registered 20 cases against the accused on charges of assault on police, murder, and robbery. The Tis Hazari Court had granted him interim protection from arrest until July 3.
Earlier, an FIR was lodged by the Delhi Police Crime Branch (Central Delhi) for violence in Red Fort under Indian Penal Code Sections 147, 148, 149, 186, 152, 353, 332, 307, 308, 395, 397, 427, and 188. Besides, charges were also framed under the Arms Act (Sections 25, 27, 54, and 59) 1959 and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (Section 3),1984. The police had awarded ₹1 lac as reward for sharing details about the accused’s whereabouts.
Red Fort Violence and Desecration of the Indian flag
Banned terrorist organization SFJ, had announced that they would give 250,000 USD (roughly 1.8 crore Rs) to anyone who hoisted the Khalistani flag on Red Fort or India Gate. A Sikh flag was hoisted on the Red Fort on January 26, 2021, by the so-called protesting farmers during the tractor rally. In the visuals of the incident that emerged later, it was seen that a man was climbing on the pole, there were several flags held by gathering protestors.
One of the protestors had handed over an Indian Tricolour to the climber, but the climber instantly threw it away. Eventually, the protestors passed on a Sikh flag to the man and he took it to place on top of the flag pole. There were two flags hoisted on the pole, one was the Sikh one, and the second one was the Kisan Union one. Around 200 artists of the Republic Day parade were stranded since 12:00 PM near Red Fort. They were rescued by Delhi Police late evening.