“What wrong have I committed? Is serving langar a crime?” a deeply upset DS Bindra told The Quint after the charge sheet filed by Delhi Police in the death of constable Ratan Lal under FIR 60 mentioned his name.
Bindra, an advocate based in Delhi, came into prominence after he put up a Langar or public kitchen, during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh. For a brief while he also organised the public kitchen at the anti-CAA protest site at Chandbagh as well.
Speaking to The Quint, he denied any involvement in the Delhi riots.
All I did was to put up a Langar. I only did what my faith taught me, what our Gurus taught us. I don’t understand why I am being targeted because of that.DS Bindra
What Does the Charge Sheet Say About DS Bindra?
The Quint went through this charge sheet, which deals with the killing of Constable Ratan Lal and the violence at Chandbagh. Significantly, while Bindra is mentioned, his name does not figure in the list of the 17 accused by the police.
While this piece, published in right-wing website Opindia, focuses only on Bindra and his alleged involvement in the violence, Bindra said they did not give him a right to respond to the allegations. The story also claimed that Bindra is a member of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen but he denies being part of any political outfit.
Coming back to the charge sheet, it alleges that the riot was the handiwork of Bindra among others.
“The riot at this site was the handiwork of DS Bindra, Salman Siddiqui, Salim Khan, Salim Munna, Shahdab and Athar and others in cahoots with local rioters.”Delhi Police’s Charge Sheet on FIR No. 60
The police has based its allegations against Bindra on a number of testimonies.
The first is from constables Sunil and Gyan Singh who, according to the charge sheet, were beat officers in the area.
"They are beat officers and had been regularly visiting the protest site and according to them Salim Khan, Salim Munna, DS Bindra, Suleman Siddiqui, Ayub, Athar, Shahdab, Upasna, Ravish and others were organisers of the protest site,” the charge sheet says.
According to one Akram Ahmad, Bindra along with others requested him to set up the tent arrangements for the protest and one Dushyant Kishore said that Bindra asked him to prepare langar.
The charge sheet also cites nearly identical testimonies by Najam Ul Hassan, Toukir and Salman alias Guddu regarding Bindra’s role.
“DH Bindra requested locals to carry out a demonstration against CAA and he said that ‘I will put up a langar and medical camp. The entire Sikh community is with you. If you don’t come forward then your fate will be similar to that of Sikhs in 1984”.Testimony by Najam Ul Hasan in the Charge Sheet
Toukir and Salman’s testimony as cited in the charge sheet is almost identical to this at least as far as Bindra’s role is concerned.
While the charge sheet alleges that Bindra organised the protest, it hasn’t tied him to any act of violence such as Ratan Lal’s killing. In that sense, this is consistent with most of the other charge sheets in which organising protests against CAA is being considered as part of the alleged Delhi riots conspiracy.
Bindra Denies Involvement in NE Delhi Violence
Bindra categorically denies taking part in the violence or being the main organiser of the protests.
“As I told you, I just put up a langar. This is part of my Sikh faith. People from every community ate at the langar without discrimination - be it Sikhs who had come from Punjab to join protests or local Muslims. Even others who wanted vegetarian food would come”.
“We established a model of Sikh-Muslim brotherhood, of communal harmony. My only motive was love and brotherhood. Instead of recognising our efforts, we are being maligned,” he added.
However, Bindra is worried of what lies ahead.
“Many Muslims tell me that they are praying for me. But they are themselves facing difficulties. I don’t know what lies ahead. All I can say is that whatever I did was for the sake of humanity,” he said.