‘Democratic right’: Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu defends hoisting of union’s flag at Red Fort

Summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last week in connection with the Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) case, Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu was among the group of farmers who entered the Red Fort on Tuesday and hoisted flags in the 17th-century monument. The development came amid violent clashes in several parts of the national capital as the tractor rally by the agitating farmers went awry. It is now known that Sindhu had also conducted a Facebook live while hoisting the pennant from the ramparts of the Red Fort.”We have only hoisted the Nishan Sahib flag on the Red Fort while exercising our democratic right to protest,” Sindhu could be heard in the video.The case against Sindhu, for which he was summoned, was registered on December 15, last year. Even the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has now distanced itself from Sidhu and accused him of leading the farmers to the Red fort. The SKM said that Sidhu appeared on a stage on Monday night and gave a provocative speech promoting separatism to sabotage the farmers’ protest.Known to be close to Gurdaspur MP and Bollywood actor Sunny Deol, Sidhu was the election in-charge for the BJP leader during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In December last year, Deol had distanced himself from Sidhu. Even the farmers’ unions had banned Sidhu last year.Tractor rally: What happened at Red Fort on January 26?Deviating from the designated route for the proposed tractor parade, a section of protesting farmers entered the Red Fort on Tuesday and hoisted flags from some domes of the iconic monument in the national capital. Pushed back by the police from the ITO in Central Delhi a section of the protesting farmers drove their tractors to Red Fort complex.The crowd swelled at the monument as some protesting farmers and ‘Nihangs’ (traditional Sikh warriors) were seen entering the Red Fort and hoisting a flag from the staff from which the prime minister unfurls the tricolour on Independence Day.A total of 41 police personnel were injured during the violence at Red Fort and ambulances could be seen entering the Red Fort complex. There was a mild lathi-charge with police removing protesting farmers from the Red Fort. The tension was mirrored elsewhere in the city too.Around 200 artists, including children, who were part of the Republic Day parade, were also rescued after they got stranded near Red Fort as the farmer’s tractor parade turned violent and protesters broke barriers and stormed the Mughal era monument.

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