An urgent writ petition was filed Saturday calling for an end to the protests in the wake of the lynching and murder of a Dalit laborer at the Singhu border, a farmer protest site near Delhi. The body of Lakhbir Singh was found mutilated and hung on the police barricades in the early morning Friday.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, which empowers the Supreme Court to issue writs for upholding the fundamental rights of citizens. The petition claims that the farmers’ protest has violated the right to life under Article 21 by creating a “law and order” situation on the borders of Delhi. The petition also states that the farmer’s protest is illegal and not protected under the right to freedom of speech:
Said incidents are neither common, nor acceptable. A protest which in itself is illegal cannot be continued when it is witnessing anti humanitarian acts. The said protests has seen many unforeseen and unacceptable things including the Tractor Rally on Republic Day, rape of a woman and its cover up at the site and murder of Lakhbir Singh on Dusshera.
In response, the farmers’ leaders have said that they have no connection with the murder and demanded that the crime be investigated, and its perpetrators be brought to justice. They reiterated that the movement is “peaceful and democratic” and have promised to cooperate in the investigation. As of Saturday, the police have arrested two members of the Nihang Sikh community of Punjab. The Nirvair Khalsa-Udna Dal, a Nihang group, has admitted to killing Lakhbir Singh for committing blasphemy by “insulting” their holy scripture. Lakhbir Singh’s family has questioned this claim and demanded a high-level probe into the matter.