Who is Deep Sidhu and why do the farmers blame him for the violence during the tractor march?
Hours after a group of protesting farmers and police clashed during the Kisan tractor march in Delhi yesterday, videos and photos of actor-activist Deep Sidhu began circulating on social media.
In one of these viral videos, Sidhu is seen passing a flag to one of the protesters to hoist it at the Red Fort. Sidhu took to his Facebook page to share another video where he claims that “we” hosted the Sikh religious flag — Nishan Sahib — at the Red Fort, exercising the democratic right to protest.
However, farmers’ union leaders quickly jumped in and claimed that Sidhu is a BJP worker. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait alleged that Sidhu is not a Sikh, but a BJP worker. “There is a picture of Sidhu with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Tikait, adding that the ongoing protest is a farmer’ movement and it will remain that way. “Those who broke the barricades will never be a part of the movement and must leave this place immediately,” he added.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh committee leader SS Pander also expressed doubts over Sidhu. “Some miscreants joined the protests to defame the farmers. We had no programs or plans of unfurling flags at the Red Fort. Sidhu’s photo with Modi is circulating. We already had doubts about him,” Pander said.
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan shared a photo on his official Twitter account showing Sidhu's connection with the BJP. The first photo shows Sidhu with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP MP Sunny Deol and the second photo shows Sidhu meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Soon after the photos went viral, Deol put a tweet in Hindi, clarifying that neither he nor his family have any relation with Sidhu.
However, sources point out that the latter was Deol’s political aide and he had campaigned for the actor in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Netizens quickly called out Deol's claim as they found photos of the duo and also an old video in which Deol claims that Sidhu is like a younger brother to him.
There is also a photo of Sidhu with BJP MP Hema Malini and her husband Dharmendra.
The farmer leaders blamed Sidhu for the tractor rally violence and alleged that the latter had led the youth towards the Red Fort yesterday. Many have made serious allegations that Sidhu may have led the violence on the behest of the BJP intending to discredit the farmers’ movement.
Reportedly, several protesting farmers did adhere to the routes decided between the police and the protest leaders. However, a group of farmers had deviated from the route and used their tractors to break apart the barricades, leading to a bloody clash with the Delhi police. Nearly 300 police officers suffered injuries in the ensuing rally violence.