Hours after he was granted bail by a Delhi court, Punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who is an accused in the Red Fort violence case, was arrested again by the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch on Saturday for allegedly damaging the monument.
On January 26, hundreds of protesting farmers at Delhi’s borders jumped barricades and reached ITO and Red Fort where they hoisted a religious flag and clashed with the police. Sidhu was arrested by the Special Cell on February 9 from Karnal Bypass in Haryana. He has been accused of “orchestrating” the violence and “inciting” farmers to march towards Delhi -Red Fort, said the police.
On Friday, a judge granted bail to Sidhu in connection with the Red Fort violence; he was informed about the same Saturday morning. However, in the afternoon, a team of the Crime Branch arrested Sidhu from Tihar Jail in connection with an FIR that was lodged late in January by the Archaeological Survey of India.
A senior police officer from the Crime Branch said, “During the investigation, we found Sidhu was involved in inciting the mob and also damaged the monument. We arrested him on Saturday.”
The FIR was registered under sections of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, the Prevention of Insults to National Honours Act and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, the Arms Act, rioting, etc. It doesn’t name Sidhu or any other protester.
The complainant, an archaeologist with Archaeological Survey of India, said a mob of 200-300 protesters came to Red Fort on the day of the violence.
“The mob turned to damage the ticket counters, door frame metal detectors and the baggage scanners -the entire ticketing counter complex was vandalised… The huge iron door within Lahori Gate was firmly secured with an iron chain and lock. The mob climbed over this iron door and jumped inside and thereafter broke the chain lock with the help of iron tools they had carried with them… Once inside, some of the protestors broke the electrical fittings of the illumination lights and the stone casing around them.
“Three tractors also managed to make their entry into the Red Fort premises. A section of the mob then charged towards the rampart and forcefully hoisted a flag on the pole where the Hon’ble PM hoists the National Flag on the Independence Day. .. Once atop the fort wall, two or three of them (protesters) tied two flags to the pole. In the process… two of the seven small burjis (domes) were removed … a group of them went to the Interpretation Centre building and damaged some panels on the first floor,” reads the FIR.