India: Actor Deep Sidhu arrested by Delhi police over riots | News | DW | 09.02.2021
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India: Actor Deep Sidhu arrested by Delhi police over riots

Sidhu, who was missing since January 26, was tracked down using "technical surveillance". He has been accused of being a stooge of the BJP by several politicians and farmers.

Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu was missing since January 26

Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu was missing since January 26

Actor Deep Sidhu, accused of instigating several farmers to storm India's Red Fort on January 26, has been arrested, the special cell of the Delhi police said on Tuesday. 

Sidhu was tracked down in Chandigarh using "technical surveillance" according to the daily Times of India. The Delhi police had earlier announced a cash bounty of 100,000 rupees ($1,372) for information on Sidhu, who went missing following the violence on India's Republic day.

After disappearing, Sidhu issued clarifications from his Facebook account from an undisclosed location. In the videos, he said, "If I am being labelled a traitor, then all farmer leader are traitors". He had requested for the protest to not be given a communal undertone.

Several farmers and politicians had accused Sidhu of being a "stooge" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who was intentionally planted to incite chaos, a claim India's ruling party has denied.

Protesters at the Red Fort in New Delhi on January 26

Protesting farmers stormed Delhi's Red Fort on January 26

Sidhu was one of the first people to openly support farmers, who are protesting for months for the repeal of three controversial farm laws. The actor held a prolonged protest with farmers at Shambhu border between the states of Punjab and Haryana. There have been several allegations that separatists were running the protest at Shambhu.

Sidhu's arrest is expected to reveal further details on how a tractor rally conducted by farmers in Delhi turned into a violent spectacle.

The arrest comes on the heels of the Delhi police's decision to withdraw additional force at the borders, where farmers are currently protesting. 

On Monday, India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, labelled some protesters 'parasites' who feast on every agitation.

Modi promised that a minimum support price (MSP) for crops would be offered to farmers, a concern that has headlined the protests. The opposition Congress party said Modi had denigrated the farmers protest with his choice of words.

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