A gangster-turned-activist from the Punjab who is on the run after being named in a case related to the violence in Delhi during a tractor rally by farmers last month, has now called a rally in Bathinda.
Lakhbir Singh, also known as Lakha Sidhana, is wanted by Delhi police for allegedly instigating protesters to turn violent during the tractor rally on January 26, Republic Day. Hundreds of protesters then clashed with police in and around Delhi, including the Red Fort.
In a video posted to Facebook on Friday, Lakhbir Singh called on people to turn out in large numbers to support farmers on February 23 in Bathinda’s Mehraj, the ancestral village of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Delhi police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information on the whereabouts of Lakhbir Singh.
“We have been agitating for the past seven months. Now this protest is at its peak and in this regard, we are holding a big program in Mehraj village in Bathinda district on February 23,” Lakhbir Singh said in the video. .
Lakhbir Singh faces at least 10 criminal cases, including land grabbing and murder, in Punjab. He had entered and left prison several times.
Village Mehraj is part of the segment of the assembly of Rampura Phul, from which Lakhbir Singh unsuccessfully contested the state’s election as the candidate of the Punjab People’s Party in 2012. This party was formed by the minister of State Finance and Bathinda Manpreet Member of Parliament Singh Badal and then merged with Congress.
The rally of tractors by farmers on January 26 was cleared by Delhi police after negotiating with farmers to follow certain routes. However, on the day of the rally, a large group of protesters strayed from the planned route and eventually clashed with the police. More than 300 police were among the injured, including protesting farmers.
Farmers have been digging along the Delhi-Haryana border for more than two months, asking the government to withdraw three new agricultural laws that they say will threaten the minimum price guarantee and allow companies to control the agricultural sector.
The government has said it is willing to discuss the laws clause by clause, and the reforms effectively remove middlemen from the farm-to-market process. He said the laws in no way lowered the minimum support price or the MSP. Farmers, however, said they wanted nothing less than a complete removal of the laws.