On 26 January, during the 72nd Republic Day celebrations in India’s capital Delhi, protesting farmers clashed with the police. The authorities are now searching for actor Deep Sidhu, who has been accused by the farmers of stoking violence during a rally at the capital’s Red Fort.
Actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu, who is on the run after being accused by farmer leaders of “instigating” and “misguiding” protesters at the Red Fort on 26 January, has agreed to be questioned by Delhi Police.
Calling himself “innocent” and “wrongly framed in the incident,” the actor released a video on Facebook in which he said, “An arrest warrant has been issued against me and a lookout notice as well. I will join the Delhi Police investigation but before that, I need some time to collect evidence to prove my innocence and bring out the truth.”
He also claimed, “Whatever information has been spread about me, it is false and is misleading the public at large. Therefore, I need a couple of days to bring out the truth.”
Appealing to the investigative agencies and the police department to give him two days’ grace before being questioned, Sidhu said, “I’ve not done anything wrong then why should I run away and why should I be scared? I’m not scared. I’ve done nothing wrong, and that will come out. I need two days to bring out the truth based on the facts and I will collect all the evidence and proof.”
In his previous videos filmed from an unknown location, Sidhu brushed off accusations that he’s a “traitor” and hit out at farmer leaders.
Apart from Sidhu, 37 farmer leaders have been named by Delhi Police in 25 police complaints. They have been charged with attempted murder, rioting, and criminal conspiracy during the Republic Day clash. More than 300 police officers were injured, while one tractor-riding protester died.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from the states of Punjab and Haryana, are protesting on the outskirts of Delhi against three new farm laws, which they argue are not in the interests of small and marginal farmers.
They are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.