The lawlessness exhibited by Nihang Sikhs is just not ending, and it is high time that the Akal Takht, SGPC and other Sikh bodies took steps to rein them in. This time, they brutally stabbed a man to death because he was allegedly smoking on the road. Smoking is banned in Sikhism and consuming tobacco or any intoxicant is considered a major transgression.
The incident happened past midnight on Wednesday, June 15, when two Nihang Sikhs murdered Zomato food delivery executive Sagar Singh (29) in west Delhi’s Tilak Nagar. It is believed they stabbed Sagar in the chest with a kirpan and then smashed his head with bricks. Sagar lay in a pool of blood for around 20 minutes, his family claimed, before another food delivery executive called an ambulance. But it was too late and he was declared brought dead by doctors at the hospital.
Tilak Nagar is a Sikh-dominated area, and locals say there has been violence in past too against smokers or even those looking to purchase a cigarette.
“The victim, Sagar Singh, was stabbed in his chest. Initial probe showed that Singh had a quarrel with two people after which he was stabbed,” DCP Deputy commissioner of police (west) Ghanshyam Bansal stated.
He added that based on the CCTV footage, the police arrested one of the accused Harshdeep Singh (22), a resident of nearby Chander Vihar, and the kirpan used in the murder was also recovered from him. Police is on the lookout for the other accused.
“During interrogation, Harshdeep told the police that he and his friend were near a restaurant on street number 13, Krishna Puri, when they saw Sagar blocking their way. He said they asked Sagar to move aside but he rebuked them instead,” said the DCP. These claims made by accused are being verified by police.
However, Sagar’s family, the Zomato agent who called the ambulance, and locals of the area told reporters that the two accused picked up a fight with Sagar since he was smoking.
Sagar’s brother-in-law, Inder Pal (38), who also works as a food delivery agent, said that Sagar used to work night shifts to make extra money and to avoid the traffic during the day. “On June 15, he received his first order around 12am and the order had to be picked up from an eatery close to his house in street number 13. Sagar had dinner with his wife Satwant Kaur alias Komal and their 8-year-old son and left for work. He reached the eatery on the first floor within minutes, picked up the order and climbed down the stairs. He walked across the street and started smoking a cigarette,” Pal said, adding that he talked to several eyewitnesses and those who gathered at the spot after Sagar was stabbed.
“Two Nihang Sikhs, who were present near the restaurant, abused Sagar for smoking. But when Sagar told them that the was smoking in an open space, and refused to stop, the two Nihangs got angry. They took out their kirpans and stabbed him in the left side of the chest,” Pal alleged.
A kirpan is a dagger/knife that Sikhs carry with them for religious reasons. It is one of five markers of faith that Amritdhari Sikhs must wear at all times: Kesh, kanga, kara, kaccha, kirpan.
Santosh Kumar, the owner of a building materials store below the restaurant, said he was asleep in his shop before he was awakened at midnight by a commotion that ensued outside his shop. “When I came out, I found Sagar lying in a pool of his blood outside my shop. People who had gathered outside told me that Sagar was also beaten up with bricks that were lying near my shop,” he said.
Kumar added that the two Nihang Sikhs who stabbed Sagar mercilessly over a petty fight fled, leaving the victim in a pool of blood. Sagar has been survived by his wife Satwant Kaur alias Komal and their 8-year-old son.
Who are the Nihangs?
Nihangs are an armed Sikh warrior order that traces its origin to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. They are distinguished by their blue robes, decorated turbans and are often seen carrying weapons like swords and spears. Although consuming any intoxicant is prohibited in Sikhism, many Nihangs consume cannabis aka shaheedi degh, purportedly to help in meditation, which they also call Sukha parshaad. However, it is never smoked and only consumed as a paste/drink.
In recent years, Nihangs have been involved in several violent incidents. The brutal amputation and murder of a Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, at Singhu during the so-called farmers protest shocked the nation. Nihangs also attacked a commuter during these protests. They were also heavily involved in attacking police and storming Red Fort during the lawless tractor rally on Republic Day last year. Apart from this, Nihangs have attacked police and civilians in Punjab, Maharashtra (Nanded), and Himachal Pradesh.