Who is Lakha Sidhana, gangster-turned-activist booked for violence at Red Fort?

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January 28, 2021 1:06 PM

Republic Day violence: While Lakha, who has been camping with farmers on the borders since November, has denied his involvement in what happened at Red Fort on Republic Day, his chequered past has once again put him in the spotlight.

A native of Sidhana village of Bathinda, Lakha was once counted among 'gangsters' in Punjab. There are about 20 serious criminal cases against him in Punjab. He has been booked for murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and under Arms Act. (IE)

Republic Day violence at Red Fort, ITO: Lakhbir Singh Sidhana aka Lakha Sidhana, along with Deep Sidhu, has been booked for inciting violence at Red Fort on Republic Day. The Delhi Police have booked the duo under various sections of IPC, 152 (assaulting or obstructing public servant when suppressing riot), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 397 (robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), and 307 (attempt to murder).

While Lakha, who has been camping with farmers on the borders since November, has denied his involvement in what happened at Red Fort on Republic Day, his chequered past has once again put him in the spotlight. A native of Sidhana village of Bathinda, Lakha was once counted among ‘gangsters’ in Punjab. There are about 20 serious criminal cases against him in Punjab. He has been booked for murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and under Arms Act.

Lakha has gone to jails several times but he now claims to have left the crime world to do social service. He heads Malwa Youth Federation which claims to do social work in villages. A Punjabi University graduate in humanities, Sidhana also tried his luck in politics in 2011. In 2012, Lakha contested in the assembly elections on the symbol of the now-defunct People’s Party of Punjab. The PPP was founded by Manpreet Singh Badal, current Finance Minister of Punjab.

Lakha left the PPP in 2013. After his brief political career ended abruptly, Sidhana started helping people from weaker sections. He is reported to have helped marry off several girls from weaker sections and helping families in the Malwa region of Punjab. But in October 2017, Lakha once again had a brush with the police for blackening an English signboard. He demanded that they be written in Punjabi.

Arrested for this act, Lakha was sent to Faridkot Modern Jail. However, even there he managed to get a mobile phone on which he recorded a live Facebook session and defended his act. The jail authorities later probed how he got the mobile phone and booked him under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 42 of the Prisons Act. Two year later, Lakha was again at the centre of controversy when he along with 60 others were booked in an attempt to murder case while taking out a protest rally in Badal village.

On Wednesday, Lakha distanced himself from the violence on Republic Day saying he and some farmer leaders had only marched up to the Outer Ring Road. He denied his involvement in the violence at the Red Fort and said that it was a matter of probe how people reached there despite tight security.

Speaking to PTI, Lakha said that he was pained at the violence but he was not involved. He said there was no video, photo or other evidence that showed that he instigated protesters there. He, like other farmer leaders, accused the government and police of conspiring against the agitation. He also rejected the charges that he shared the stage with Deep Sidhu at the Singhu border on Monday night. Lakha claimed that he was there to calm down protestors who wanted to take out the march on the Outer Ring Road.

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