Delhi Police on Wednesday announced a monetary reward for anyone who can provide information on the whereabouts of Punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who has been named as an accused in the violence that unfolded after farmers took out a tractor rally on Republic Day.
The reward for providing information that can lead to the arrest of Sidhu has been set at Rs 1 lakh, while Rs 50,000 reward was announced for any information that could lead the police to arrest four others: Jagbir Singh, Buta Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Iqbal Singh, for their alleged involvement in last Tuesday’s violence.
In the eye of the storm over the violence at Red Fort, the Punjabi actor had gone missing after January 26. He was last seen in the chaos at Red Fort, among the crowd that deviated to Delhi’s iconic Red Fort and planted a Nishan Sahib flag on an empty rampart. In a video footage from the incident, Sidhu was caught fleeing from the spot as the situation aggravated. He jumps onto a motorbike and escaped.
While farmer unions alleged it was ‘fringe elements’ like Sidhu who instigated protesters and turned the agitation violent, he defended his actions, saying they did not remove the national flag at the Red Fort, but only put up the ‘Nishan Sahib’ as a symbolic protest.
Since then, he has posted videos from hiding. In the clips, he can be seen crying and expressing his anger against the farmer unions and Punjabis for branding him a “traitor”. “I have raised the voice of Punjab and its people. I was branded a traitor. There were 5 lakh people at the Red Fort, including singers and leaders, but only one (I) was singled out,” Sidhu said.
Sidhu appeared unapologetic and tried to justify the hoisting of religious and farmer unions’ flags parallel to the Tricolour at the Red Fort. “Flags were hoisted as the people wanted to show their anger to the government. But nobody took a stand. I have been deeply hurt, not because of what the government said, but what the people are saying about me,” he said.