Can there ever be an ulterior motive when serving a langar: D.S Bindra

The lawyer-activist who has been sent a notice and questioned in the Ratan Lal murder investigation, by the Delhi Police says he is not scared


Lawyer DS Bindra’s caller tune is “waheguru’, the chant he says gives him strength to do whatever he does. These are the toughest times for the lawyer who had spent most of Delhi’s freezing winter months cooking, and feeding hundreds who gathered at Shaheen Bagh during the historic  anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. He had not found it tough and remembered that things just fell into place for his free kitchen service since the day he started. “It started when the Sikh farmers group that had come from Punjab to support the sisters at Shaheen Bagh asked me to send the food grains they had brought along to a gurdwara, when they were returning home.” Bindra thought it was best to ask if the langar could possibly  be cooked at the well equipped and well manned Gurudwara kitchens and brought back to Shaheen Bagh to feed the hungry protesters who sat there 24 hours. To his shock no one was willing to collaborate with him. “I will never name them, but once some people heard the food was meant to go to Shaheen Bagh they objected,” recalls a disappointed Bindra. Perhaps the people who wanted to stay away were merely doing so in self preservation, or to avoid controversy, or the wrath of the authorities. 

None of these mattered to Bindra who then set up an open kitchen near the Shaheen Bagh protest site, hired vessels and cooks from a wedding caterer and began cooking, and serving fresh vegetarian meals to whoever wanted a plate. Soon the system fell into place, people began volunteering however they could. Some would serve, some would help get water, some others would donate grains or vegetables. “I thought the protest would end soon, but it went on for a long time. And so did the langar I was preparing,” the devout Sikh who has volunteered for langa seva for years, remembers the camaraderie at Shaheen Bagh, “we served whoever wanted a meal. That is it. This seva was not of my own doing, it was the divine one, my Guru who showed me the way. I was just there at that moment and place.”  The protest was called off in greater public interest as Covid-19 began to create havoc and the national lockdown was strictly implemented, banning all gatherings. Bindra’s langar seva kitchen too closed down. 

“After that I did not go there, or anywhere else,” says Bindra, who got the biggest shock of his life when he was slapped with a notice by the Delhi Police special cell. “Is setting up a langar, and feeding the hungry a crime? Is helping people a crime?” asked Bindra, who is now undergoing one of his biggest challenges yet. 

Bindra reportedly sold his flat to fund his campaign to feed the hungry protesters. He also organised langar at the Chand Bagh sit-in protest site in Mustafabad and also in Khureji for around five days, helping feed hundreds of protesters. Now, his name has been added to the list mentioned in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in the matter of the killing head constable Ratan Lal. 

As reported by SabrangIndia then, some of the accused named in the chargesheet have mentioned DS Bindra as one of the organisers of the sit-in protest at Chand Bagh, and that he ordered that tents be set up at the site and langar be cooked and served. The accused also stated that at an allegedly secret meeting with other organisers, Bindra spoke about the CAA as being anti-minorities and that the Sikh community was here to support them so that the barbarism of 1984 was never repeated.

Bindra has not been named as one of the accused, but his presence at the location, and his alleged  role as one organisers of the protest is being stretched to suggest that Bindra, with his words and actions, may have instigated the riots that took place in the area later in February, specifically an instance in which head constable Ratan Lal was killed on February 24, 2020. 

The notice is a firm indicator that he is under the Delhi Police scanner. His langars have been set up in full public view and  were covered by the media that was stationed at protest sites.

“It is an indication that democracy is endangered if feeding langar, and standing with the truth is categorised as a crime, and a notice is sent by the police” he said. However, the lawyer says he is not scared and that he draws even more strength from all this. “I had begun my langar seva by mankind and serving tea,” says Bindra who does most of his social work under the banner of ‘Hind Army’ that he co founded. This banner too is under the police scanner. 

“I have been sent a notice under many sections including instigating riots, they said I started a langer to gather a crowd and then provoked them,” he said adding that he had nothing to do with the Chand Bagh protest. “Can there ever be an ulterior motive when serving a langar?  They can slap as many notices against me or even lodge an FIR, I will not be scared, nor will I stop my langar seva wherever needed,” he said, “I will continue to serve the people.”

However, those associated with him say they are worried about their mentor. “He has already been called by the police to come to the Lodhi Colony police station for questioning a few days ago. I think he was there for over seven hours on June 15. The police even came to his office, I was told, but they could not find anything,” said a young man who considers the lawyer a friend he looks up to, “Bindra sir  is always helping people so I do not understand why is the police doing this to him?”

Bindra is seeking legal advice and continues to say his social work will not stop at any cost. He has also found support from many including members of a group named Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) who recently held a rally in his support in Canada.


Rally in Canada in support of a Sikh advocate who organized langar for Delhi CAA protesters
Sikh man who served langar to protesters, named in Ratan Lal murder chargesheet



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