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India

Samyukat Kisan Morcha Demands probe by SC judge into Red Fort Republic Day fiasco

March 26, 2021 12:31 PM
Nishan Sahib hoisting exercise in action at Red Fort on Republic Day
Chanchal Manohar Singh

 The writer is a senior journalist and columnist

It won’t be perhaps wrong to say that communal harmony in India is witnessing a great threat and expectantly it would not be a sweeping statement to claim that the entire government machinery is instrumental in encouraging those elements who are hell-bent to dissuade the nation's diversity. The government is apparently not putting any effort in identifying such elements, thus invariably reinforcing them. In the recent instance of hoisting of Nishan Sahib (religious flag) at Red Fort, Delhi, the government instead of identifying the real culprits, started peddling a parallel narrative of accusing the agitating farmers.

The government agencies ran berserk in registering complaints against farmers, but surprisingly missed one name-Deep Sidhu, who was in fact instrumental in unfurling the religious flag. However, after social media criticism, the police were forced to file FIR against Deep Sidhu, though he was absconding. Recently, when he surrendered before the Delhi police (though they claim it to be arrest), the lapdog media projected it as a major success. The moot question is why his arrest has been delayed for so many days. He was instrumental in hoisting the Nishan Sahib at Red Fort, and he himself relayed it live on his Facebook page. He is said to be an intelligent lawyer, therefore, it is not possible that he inadvertently created evidence against himself.

The Nishan Sahib hoisting at Red Fort has damaged the cause of the farmers' sit-in movement. The media and international focus on Republic Day were also diverted to these non-event activities leaving aside the farmers' peaceful Tractor March to protest in Delhi on designated routes.

From Deep Sidhu’s sudden appearance at the rampart of the Red Fort on 26th January and immediately getting involved in the flag hoisting exercise can’t be believed to be an emotional act but apparently, a conscious well-planned mission, which could have a targeted motive behind it.

Deep Sidhu and his supporters have announced a day earlier from the stage of the Samyukat Kisan Morcha (SKM) that he and his young associate would not follow any of the police designated routes for Tractor March on Republic Day, but would enter Delhi on a path of their own choice. He never disclosed his proposed route, but he drew a line separating himself and his supporter to go to Delhi on a different path, violating the police designating routes.

Farmers participating in tractor rally in Delhi on 26th January 2021

He also minced no words about his misadventure of Red Fort. He kept his mission of hoisting the flag to himself or may have shared it with some of his close associates who were part of his mission. The hoisting of Nishan Sahib was never the mission or agenda of the protesting 35-Kisan unions/organizations or their apex body KSM. When Deep Sidhu suddenly presented himself on the Red Fort on Republic Day, he was empty-handed, having his high-quality Mobile ready for relaying live on his Facebook, the exercise of hoisting Nishan Sahib, he did it successfully. His act was viewed by the world-wide Indian Diaspora, and by those who have announced that the Sikhs must perform this “proud” act. They also announced a big financial reward for the man of the day, who so ever he may be. It is relevant to add here that this was the second attempt of hoisting Nishan Sahib, as ordered by the Sikh for Justice, in India. The first was over a government building in Moga, Punjab.

The act of unfurling the religious flag by an individual, whose pictures with top BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared on social media, raises several questions, including the covert affiliation of the accused with RSS or BJP.

The Sikhs have not welcomed the act of hoisting a flag at Red Fort. It is a broad common feeling among the Sikhs that he (Sidhu) is an RSS stooge and working against the interests of the Sikhs and farmers. Deep Sidhu has given his permanent address of Nagpur, which is well known for the Headquarters of RSS. Sidhu belongs to Mukatsar, his wife lives in Mumbai, but why he (Sidhu) has a permanent address in Nagpur. His pictures with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah give credence to his relationship with RSS-BJP. Though Member Parliament and actor Sunny Deol denied recently of having any association with Deep Sidhu but viral videos on social media speak volumes about their closeness.

Women faarmers on wheel to participate in tractor rally on 26th January, 2021

There can be another angle to the 26th January episode, which needs to be thoroughly investigated. A few days ago (before 26th January 2021), the honoured prize for hoisting Nishan Sahib was raised to US $ 3.50 lakh from the US $ 2.50 lakh by the chief of the US-based organization, the Sikh for Justice (SFJ), Gurpatwant Singh Pannu. Any link between the hoisting of Nishan sahib at Red Fort and the bounty by Sikh for Justice needs NIA intervention. The NIA has been already investigating the hoisting of Nishan Sahib on 14th August 2020, on the complex of Deputy Commissioner, Moga, and also “tearing of the Indian National Flag.”

The SFJ was instrumental in organising Referendum 2020 on the issue of Khalistan and its large size flexes were also seen at Nanakana Sahib on Guru Nanak Dev’ birth anniversary that year, India raised objection to the display of these flexes on Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday. Thousands of Indian Sikhs visited Gurdwara Janamasthan Guru Nanak Dev ji to pay obeisance. However, the visiting Sikh pilgrimage did not pay much importance to the display of flexes exhibiting Referendum 2020.

Referendum 2020 Khalistan flexes were nowhere seen on both the events in Pakistan-laying the foundation stone of Kartarpur Corridor and the inauguration of the same by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. It is significant to note that the Referendum 2020 for Khalistan was a flop-show because hardly any Sikh from India participated in that. Or one can say that the Indian Sikh population completely ignored SFJ promotion of Khalistan activities.

Women asserts their identity as Kisan

Although Pannu is a US citizen and his area of anti-India activities is also the US, Sikhs in the US hardly take many notices of his pro-Khalistan activities. He was thrown out of a Gurdwara in Chicago where he was staying after his activities for Khalistan were noticed. Pannu is not a devout Sikh, with a clean shaved outlook, much to the disliking of Sikhs.  Astonishingly, one-man organisation (Pannu’s) Sikh for Justice gets tremendous publicity in print or electronic media in India than in any other country including Pakistan or the US where it is established.

Keeping in view the above-mentioned sequence of events and background, the investigation by the Delhi police and NIA into Deep Sidhu’s activities and his connection abroad carries much significance. Though his belated arrest said to be made under social media pressure makes enough sense for the investigating agencies. His (Sidhu’s) videos have been posted by a woman from California. Announcement of award of US$ 3.50 lakh for hoisting a Nishan Sahib can be a great motivation for many in India. The NIA or Delhi police may have reason to investigate this ward angle in the hoisting of Nishan sahib at Red Fort.

The Nishan Sahib hoisting at Red Fort has damaged the cause of the farmers' sit-in movement. The media and international focus on Republic Day were also diverted to these non-event activities leaving aside the farmers' peaceful Tractor March to protest in Delhi on designated routes. . The KSM has demanded a probe into the happening of 26th January 2021 at Red Fort by a judge of Supreme Court. The BJP Government and it's Home Minister Amit Shah have not reacted to the KSM’s demand for probe till this day.

The writer is a senior journalist and columnist

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