The family of a 23-year-old man from Punjab’s Tarn Taran, accused of hoisting the Nishan Sahib, a flag sacred to Sikhs, at the Red Fort during the farmers’ protest on Republic Day, Wednesday claimed that he was innocent and had climbed up the flagpole only after being instigated by a fellow protester.
Jugraj Singh’s grandfather Mehal Singh claimed that his grandson went to the Delhi border with a group of farmers for participating in the agitation and the tractor parade. He said ever since the visuals of Jugraj hoisting the Nishan Singh were shared, media persons, police teams, and intelligence officials have been visiting their home at village Vaan Tara Singh.
“Jugraj had no such plans. A fellow protester asked him (Jugraj) to climb the flagpole after others could not do so. Jugraj then agreed to climb up the flagpole to hoist the flag. He is innocent,” Mehal Singh said about his grandson.
The villagers said that Jugraj was a good man and often helped hoist the Nishan Sahib at local gurdwaras, and that could have been the reason the fellow protesters asked him to do the same at the Red Fort.
Fellow villager and ex-serviceman Prem Singh said, “There was no planning behind it. He had not gone to Delhi to hoist the Nishan Sahib. He didn’t carry any flag with him. He was quick at climbing poles and hoisted the flag handed over by someone else. He is a good man.”
There has been a massive outrage over the religious flag being hoisted at the Red Fort. Mehal Singh said he now fears that police would conduct raids at his house to arrest Jugraj, one of the three children of Baldev Singh. The family owns three acres of farmland in the village.
Tarn Taran police officials were tight lipped over the development. However, a source said that police was investigating if Jugraj had any relation with any banned outfit.