The Republic Day Tractor Rally of the farmers deviated from its original path that was pre-planned by the Delhi Police, which ended up turning violent in some parts of Delhi on Tuesday. Actor Deep Sidhu has been accused by the farmer union leaders of instigating protesters to climb atop the Red Fort.
The actor also defended the hoisting of 'Nishan Sahib', the religious flag of the Sikhs on the Red Fort during a Facebook Live on Tuesday night. The first eight-minute-long Facebook post had over 2 lakh views. It shows how Sidhu was snubbed by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) since the Singhu protests started but despite that, he still reached out to the farmers over the unions’ heads and kept raising the pitch.
But Who is Deep Sidhu?
Deep Sidhu is a Punjabi actor and a social worker, whose career in films started with a debut in Ramta Jogi in 2015. Born in 1984, in the Muktsar district of Punjab was once an aide of Bollywood actor Sunny Deol. He was with Deol during the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign when the actor was contesting elections from the Gurdaspur seat of Punjab.
He is now being accused of having close ties with the BJP and being a part of the “conspiracy” to discredit the protests. Soon after the Republic Day incident, his photos with the now BJP MP Sunny Deol and Prime Minister Narendra Modi went viral on social media.
However, Sidhu, who has been associated with the farmers' agitation for the last many months, said "anger flares up" in a mass movement like this when the genuine rights of people are ignored. "In today's situation, that anger flared up", he said.
Referring to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar’s remarks that action should be taken against all of those who instigated the crowd, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “Agree with Prakash Javadekar on this. So to catch the culprits, we can start with this name: Deep Sidhu, campaigner-in-chief for BJP MP Sunny Deol, who admits his role to the media… Judging by these photos, his associates won’t be hard to find either.” Tharoor posted photographs of Sidhu and Deol with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sidhu with Home Minister Amit Shah. He also posted a photograph of Sidhu at Red Fort on Tuesday.
Deol has distanced himself from Sidhu and had said he and his families have no association with Sidhu. "My heart is very sad to see what happened on the Red Fort today, I have already clarified this through Twitter on December 6. I am that my or my family has no connection with Deep Sidhu. Jai Hind'," the actor and MP had tweeted.
Post the incident, the general public took to social media and called Sidhu out for being an ‘RSS Agent’ and ‘a conspirator.’
What Sidhu Had Said
Denying that he had instigated the crowd and claiming that the Nishan Sahib flag was hoisted in a “flow of emotions”, Sidhu said: “I had warned that our leaders had taken a decision which is against the youth’s sentiments.”
While defending the hoisting of the ‘Nishan Sahib’ flag, Sidhu said, "To symbolically register our protest against the new farm legislation, we put up ‘Nishan Sahib’ and a Farmer flag and also raised a slogan of Kisan Mazdoor Ekta. The flag represents the country's unity in diversity, he said while pointing towards the 'Nishan Sahib', a symbol of Sikh religion seen at all Gurdwara complexes.”
He also stated that the national flag was not removed from the flagpole at the Red Fort and that nobody raised a question over the country's unity and integrity.
Leaders across the political spectrum had condemned the violence, especially the Red Fort incident which injured 86 cops and killed one section of protesters.
Sidhu’s name has been filed in a case by the Delhi Police. The police said he will be summoned for questioning soon. A handful of farmer leaders have also been named in the 25-plus cases filed by the police since Tuesday evening.
The umbrella body of 41 farmers union, Samkyukt Kisan Morcha had disassociated itself with all those who indulged in the violence that broke out in the unfortunate incident.