Explained: The Sacrilege in Darbar Sahib & Khalsa’s justice has its roots in rotten judiciary of India.

A man was beaten to death Saturday at Darbar Sahib in Amritsar after he attempted sacrilege in the main sanctum of Darbar Sahib during the evening prayers of Rehraas Sahib.

The man who is yet to be identified can be seen jumping over the gold railings in the CCTV footage that SGPC released after the incident. The man picked up sword and attempted to attack the Garanthi singh as well as others sitting around holy Guru Garanth Sahib. The shocking incident got relayed to the entire world because of live coverage of evening prayers by PTC network.

As per reports, the man was first questioned in a room inside the Golden Temple premises, and then taken on a wheel chair to the SGPC headquarters. All this while, he was being beaten. Meanwhile, police also reached the spot. SGPC placed the body of man outside Teja Singh Samundari hall after uproar from the Sikh jathebandis. Many had started raising suspicions that SGPC has secretly handed the man to Police. The body of the man and statements from Sikhs who were witness to beating that he received made it clear that man had succumbed to injuries.

The reactions on the sacrilege started coming immediately after the incident. SGPC’s newly elected president Harjinder Singh Dhami confirmed that the young man succumbed to injuries while he was brought out of Darbar Sahib.

Jathedar Akal Takht Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh condemned the sacrilege in strong words and said, “History tells us that the Sikhs never tolerated any kind of attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib, even when powerful foreign invaders did so. They always gave them a befitting reply. There are some agencies which are behind these incidents in the season of elections.”

Anger & Disappointment in community due to inaction in sacrilege cases.

Akal Takht Sahib Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh had convened a meeting of Sikh Jathebandis back on 26th July 2021 to discuss the rampant conversions of Sikhs to Christianity as well as the sacrilege incidents.

The conference summed up and arrived at conclusion that there have been 250+ incidents of sacrilege in Punjab. Most of these incidents were isolated & the culprits in most cases were handed over to the authorities. The conference expressed sadness that no one has been punished for the sacrilege incidents. In a small subset of numbers 6 out of 10 culprits come out of jails without any strict actions by exploiting the mental instability loophole in the judicial system.

The 2015 sacrilege in Bargari is still fresh in the minds of Sikhs. The ruling congress government promised justice to Sikhs when it came to power in 2017 but there is no justice as we near the fresh elections in Punjab. Sacrilege is a sensitive issue for Sikhs across globe and as such politics for gains on the issue of sacrilege has rendered most political parties irrelevant in Sikh and panthic space.

To add fuel to fire the Firing incident at Bargari which led to martyrdom of two Sikhs has further lowered the credibility of judicial system of india and its ability to give justice in sacrilege cases

The sacrilege history and tussle of communities is decades old in Punjab, the only factor that has remained constant has been state’s inaction to do something about sacrilege issues. In 1986 the Sikhs protesting against the sacrilege of Guru Garanth Sahib were fired upon by police. 35 years later the Indian courts have arrived at conclusion that Firing was not necessary because Sikhs were not a mob and were entering Gurdwara. The state has failed to establish the dots for that sacrilege or punish the people who fired on Sikhs.

In more recent example of judicial failure the state has been unable to trace Dera Sacha Sauda’s Gurmeet’s role in sacrilege incidents. To most Sikhs the government just doesn’t understand the gravity of sacrilege in Sikhi.

The attempt to sacrilege at Singhu by Lakhwinder was an important point. The threshold for Sikh patience has finally been touched. All political leaders from Prakash singh Badal to current Chief Minister Charanjit Channi understand the falling mercury of trust in Sikhs when it comes to expecting justice from the state.

Pattern of Sacrilege

On 15th December a man was handed over to Amritsar Police for committing sacrilege by tearing apart Nitnem Gutka and throwing in Sarovar of Darbar Sahib. The SGPC task force made sure that man was handed to police unhurt expecting justice and some connections to sacrilege. The police slept on the case until yesterday when a man who is still not identified committed the sacrilege that has never gone unpunished in Sikh history.

The pattern of sacrilege in small villages of Punjab has seen the culprits coming out of jails on pretext of mental instability leading to anger in Sikhs.

In some of the cases the state has been unable to establish any credible connections or motives behind sacrilege leading to closure of files and bail out of culprits. SGPC President in his statement today hinted on the need of amendment in laws when it comes to dealing with sacrileges. It is important to understand sacrilege from Sikh perspectives to frame laws on it.

The Jathedar Akal Takht has called a meeting of jathedars of all the Takhts at Akal Takht on 25th December to discuss the future course of action for Panth on increasing sacrilege issues. Jathedar has also urged Sikhs to keep vigil in election season as incidents are more likely to increase.

Politics of Opportunity and beyond

The news of MS Sirsa joining BJP reached to me yesterday when I was driving. The whatsapp groups and twitter posts started blowing immediately with criticism of Sirsa’s decision. There have been many takes on this already but I have not found a nuanced one on topic yet, most of the takes come from an emotional perspective notably from Sikhs who more or less feel disappointed. Some people I talked to also expressed that decision is not unexpected and that everybody knew of Sirsa’s connections with BJP.

I am clear on one aspect of Sirsa’s politics that he is a smart and clever politician. Manjinder Singh Sirsa was bestowed with love by Sangat of Delhi making him the president. He might have lost the elections this time around but his stint as president saw many important developments. His contributions towards Farmers Protests due to his position in DSGMC are worth mentioning. It is however important to note here that Sirsa without that position bestowed on him would not have been able to help SKM in legal battles. Sirsa has always been in proximity of people in Power & was clearly against politics of Congress. His strong criticism against Congress and his quick responses to acts against Sikhs in Pakistan and Afghanistan earned him the position among Sikhs that no other Sikh in BJP could command.

BJP has of course tried to connect with Sikh community using likes of Hardeep Singh Puri and RP singh but these Sikhs have not earned traction amongst Sikhs. An important aspect of Sirsa’s new innings is Shiromani Akali Dal relations with BJP.

Akali Dal has maintained in its statement that Manjinder singh Sirsa was intimidated because of the cases against him. Sukhbir Badal has also gone on record to use ‘threats’ as an excuse for the loss of top leader in Delhi. The bigger picture that has been emerging from months has been BJP’s efforts to put healing touch to Sikhs in Punjab. BJP has been in long alliance with Akali Dal in Punjab. The new leadership of BJP feels that Akalis have used the Hinduness of BJP in Punjab to garner BJP votes but has done nothing to improve the credibility or image of BJP. This was more evident with sudden divorce of Akalis with BJP and no reactions on the gherao of BJP people in Punjab.

Sirsa enjoys a relatively better position among Sikhs in Punjab due to his stint with DSGMC. BJP in its bid to touch the alienated section of Sikhs in Punjab has even gone to the extent of including former AIsSF member Harinder Kahlon.

In addition to the gold trophy that he will be for BJP, Manjinder singh Sirsa is hardworking politician who understands camera and social media. BJP has lost its remaining credibility among Punjabis during farmers protest and hence these are tough times for Manjinder singh Sirsa.

The criticism of Sirsa’s decision is coming from all sections of Sikhs, some even comparing him to Longowal. Notably Longowal after his accord with Rajiv was criticised by one and all in the community including the Akali Dal. The main criticism against Sirsa is coming from farmers who feel that his intent was always questionable.

SGPC’s new president Harjinder Singh Dhami as well as Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh both have criticised Sirsa’s decision of joining BJP. Jathedar elaborated that Sirsa just picked between jail term and BJP. He lamented that conscience of people is always tested and that someone who was given love by Delhi Sangat should have passed the test.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa immediately after joining maintained that he wanted to serve community. Of course his statement was to cool off the angry community that by and large feels anger against the party BJP. Sirsa mentioned a list of Sikh issues that he intends to solve including the safety and security of Sikhs in JK, Solving issues of Sikhs of Shillong who are evicted, Getting back Gurdwara Dang Maar among many others. Many Sikh political thinkers believe that it will be hard for Sirsa to steer clear off the bigger conglomerate RSS and its efforts to assimilate Sikhs into Hindus. Sirsa for one will never be able to appeal to wider Sikh community because of his little or no sympathy for Sikh struggle and hence might lose relevance in due course of time.

Farmers Protest and its impact on mindset of Panth.

Farmers Protest has completed one year on the borders of Delhi. The names Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur became a household name across families in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The government of India has taken a decision to repeal the three contentious laws after long agitation and episodes of violence against the farmers.

The largest and the longest protest in the human history comes from textbook definition of Sikh religion’s ‘fight against injustice’. Sikhi in many ways was the powerhouse that propelled the people towards Delhi. From mowing down the barricades to demolishing each and every propaganda that state threw on farmers Sikhi acted as both shield and sword of the farmers.

Guru Sahib’s Prakash and Nishan Sahib at Protest sites are not mere symbolisms of religion but of the fact that this battle is fought on the lines of Dharm and truth. Understating the impact of farmers protest on Panth is both vital and critical at this point. The Indian media houses in particular shy away from discussions revolving Sikhi and farmers in the same breath. There are political aspirations behind that as well as the larger picture of undermining the Sikh or panthic unity. In this piece I am going to discuss few pointers on how Farmers Protest helped Sikhs and Sikh mindset.

1. Narrowing down of differences between Sikhs in India and Diaspora.

Indian Sikhs have always been at cross hair of the state where they had to prove their nationalism to secure better lives. This is a fact that we can’t run away from and it is also true that even after sacrificing lives for the nation they were not treated right by the same nation. We have examples of how serving army men were butchered in 1984 as well as recent ones of how army veterans were locked behind bars for being part of farmers protest. Indian Sikhs have been portrayed for long as an entity that is against the just demands of Punjab. The demonisation of Sikh struggle is carried out by the state using its pawns and sometimes the false campaigns (include BBC report). The larger picture or the X-ray of the state came out with the farmers protest throwing a large chunk of Indian Sikhs to understand that state is not above Panth. Farmers Protest brought together the activists from across the globe to talk about one subject and that was Punjab and its issues. The narrowing down of differences did annoy the state and its agencies given that many OCI cards were revoked and philanthropists banned from entry.

2. More than agriculture

Many activists like Simranjit Singh Mann, Deep Sidhu, Lakha Sidhana have stressed and hoped that farmers protest will open the pandora box of long standing issues of Punjab which political parties have ignored all together. To an extent the farmers protest did open the issues of SYL, Punjabi Language, Chandigarh.

The disillusionment of peasantry sent the political parties of Punjab back to their drawing boards. Many parties had to rethink their stance on sacrilege of Guru Garanth Sahib and pending justice. One of the important impact of farmers protest which was seen in Panthic politics was protest against the demolition of discovered bunga Near Akal Takht. SGPC which has hardly stepped back on marblising the buildings had to give up the idea.

The Indian media sections including the liberal ones do not believe in Punjab problem as a Sikh rights problem and hence would never want the protest to be discussed in those lines. To be fair to the farmer leaders the Panth or the Sikh driving force did not take the protest into their hands and kept the demands as desired by SKM.

3. The narrowing down of Caste differences

It is important to mention here that many farmers who gave up their lives were not owning any lands. The dilution of caste based differences in the Panth could be seen from the fact that Dalit activist Nodeep Kaur faced torture and imprisonment but did not give up for the cause of farmers protest and labour rights. Farmers Protest May have just touched the tip of an iceberg called caste differences and bigger tasks lie ahead to demolish the iceberg all together.

4. Strengthening of Gurdwaras and Decline in apostasy

Gurdwaras were and are the powerhouses of the farmers protest. Be it the announcements from the Gurdwaras in Punjab about the Jathas that would be leaving for delhi borders or the entire organisation of langars during the sowing and reaping season, the Gurdwaras did step up beyond the daily task of nitnem attended by few white bearded ones.

The Amrit sanchar programs saw a rapid rise in this period of one year with many people taking the Pahul. The sanchar programs took place not just on the borders of Delhi but in the main heartland of Punjab as well. The Sikh resilience and valour was appreciated by global actors and organisations drawing many people towards Sikhi and also bringing home the apostles.

5. Dissent is Right.

Thanks to the farmers protest many Sikhs became aware about the issues of Punjab. The problems of agriculture do not exist in isolation when it comes to Punjab. It is clear to vast majority of Sikhs that injustice was done to Punjab during 1947 and that there are unfulfilled promises which will keep taking the shape of agitations in one form or the other.

The nation accepts at this point that it had gone into dark ages as commented by many leading papers as well and that dissent in India was at its lowest. The farmers did face the wrath of state trying to hold on to its inertia but in the end dissent and right to dissent won.

Falsely Framed, Denied medical treatment, tortured in jail : Story of Malkit Singh Shera so far.

Malkit Singh ‘Shera’ who died in Amritsar Prison due to negligence by prison and state authorities has left questions about other prisoners who are falsely framed.

The family members of Malkit Singh, aka Shera, who died in judicial custody, today said they would approach a court seeking action against the Amritsar Central Jail authorities for “failing” to provide proper medication to him which ultimately took his life.

Malkit Singh Shera was 28yr old Sikh youth who was arrested for alleged connection with a bomb blast that occurred in Pandori Gola village in Tarn Taran in September 2019. He died while in judicial custody at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital on 5th October.

Ravinderjit Singh elder brother is Shera told me that Malkit had hole in his heart and was an acute diabetic patient as well. Singh told me that Punjab and High Court had directed the jail authorities for provide him treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh, after forming a board in December 2020 but nothing was done.

Ravinderjit says that none of the political parties assisted the family. As per Singh he approached Akali Dal as well Congress. Singh says that everyone treated Malkit as a terrorist and we tried to convince everyone that he is framed falsely.

Sikh legal assistance board represented Malkit Singh in the case. The legal board also continued to support his medical needs. As per Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and the family, Shera was in Amritsar When blast took place and is not related to the blast. Manjhpur was successful in establishing that Shera possessed no phone but NIA court ruled completely opposite.

The Case & State’s negligence towards Malkit’s health

NIA court stamped sections 304, 153A, 120-B of IPC along with section 13, 16, 18, 20, 23 of UAPA (1967) and Sections 4, 5 of the Explosive substances act 1908. NIA in its case said that an explosion took place on 05/09/2019 in outskirts of village Pandori Gola, Taran Taran due to which Bikkar Singh, and Harpreet Singh died on the spot whereas Gurjant Singh sustained injuries. During the investigation NIA court said that Malkit Singh was in touch with all these people and was highly radicalised.

The Police could not prove any of their allegations on Malkit Singh. No connections with any of the organisations that Police mentioned were found out. The only material that made NIA court to keep Malkit in prison was the material found in his phone and laptop. The material included books on Sikh genocide and Sikh struggle for independence.

Malkit’s health started deteriorating in Prison because access to medicines was denied to him. He could not get proper check ups even though the court had called for providing him the treatment. The family then moved to SC in 2020. SC denied the bail to Malkit singh. A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana dismissed the plea saying it cannot grant bail to the accused.

Lakhimpur Violence Updates so far.

The farmers have decided to intensify the agitation against farm laws after violent incident at Lakhimpur Uttar Pradesh in which eight people died.

Four of the eight were killed when a car linked to a senior ruling party minister Ajay Kumar Mishra crashed into protesters. The minister’s son Monu Mishra allegedly ramped the car on the protestors after firing at the protestors. According to the eye witness accounts of farmers and the cops Mishra and his son rammed the car on the protesting farmers after which the angry farmers burnt the two cars.

Police said they were investigating the crash and had registered a case against 13 people including a son of a minister of state in the interior ministry, Ajay Kumar Mishra,

An alliance of protest groups called in a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday for a court-supervised investigation of the violence.

“We’ll intensify our agitation in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country to highlight the plight of innocent farmers,” Dharmendra Malik said a senior leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union.

Series of events.

Few days before the Lakhimpur incident Ajay Kumar Mishra in one of the programs organised by his party BJP had called for violence against farmers. The anger against Ajay Mishra was simmering in the farmers who were protesting in Teekuniya and Lakhimpur against the programs of BJP.

Much before the violence erupted in Lakhimpur the Minister of State was seen insulting the farmers when his cavalcade was shown black flags. The minister showed thumbs down to the protesting farmers.

The atmosphere was heating up in entire UP with farmers camping on the helipad of deputy chief minister of UP. The deputy had to cancel his visit in Lucknow.

The violence that erupted in Lakhimpur had its origins in the inflammatory speeches made by Mishra. According to the farmers on ground Mishra and his son instigated the farmers. Mishra’s son fired a shot that hit the farmer in his head. Soon after firing the shot Mishra and his son escaped in their car ramming the protesting farmers. The farmers managed to get hold of the cars while police party escorted the minister and his son away in the fields. According to the cop who was present on the scene the police kept firing shots until they took Mishra and his son away to safety. The angry farmers who were left with four dead people burnt the cars of minister.

As soon as the news of farmers deaths came out huge crowds of farmers started moving forwards Lakhimpur. The Farmer Union BKU Charuni urged all the farmers to move to Lakhimpur. Rakesh Tikait Of BKU also started out towards Lakhimpur with his contingent. Tikait and Charuni along with SKM called on the farmers at Lakhimpur to not cremate the bodies of four dead farmers until justice is delivered. The mourning families of four farmers youngest of them being 19yr old camped on the road with the bodies.

The politicians of the opposition parties announced their march towards Lakhimpur. Many opposition politicians including Priyanka Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadhav, Deepinder Hooda were detained.

The main political parties of Punjab including Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress and AAP all condemned the Lakhimpur incident and called for justice for farmers. SAD has announced that its delegation will head to Lakhimpur. Similarly Punjab Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi has tweeted that he will go to Lakhimpur to express solidarity with families of the dead. UP government ordered that no political leader would be allowed to land in Lucknow. The leaders and delegations of these parties are hence thinking of going to UP by road.

After Rakesh Tikait reached Lakhimpur, the talks between the administration and farmers started. The farmers under the umbrella body of SKM had already announced the gherao of DC offices across the nation. Memorandums were presented to DCs across the nation.

The farmers demanded that one crore compensation be given to the families of dead farmers. A government job and filing of FIR against Mishra and his son under sections 302 were other main demands. The farmers at Teekuniya also demanded that Mishra be sacked from his position of MOS.

After continued talks for hours the AGP Law ans Order Prashant Kumar announced that Police has registered FIR at Tikonia police station under IPC sections 302, 304 A, 147, 148, 149, 120 B and 279 against Ashish Mishra, son of MoS Ajay Mishra Teni and . 13 more people.

It was announced that 45lac ₹ will be given as compensation to the families of the dead along with a government job. The authorities also ensured that the culprits will be arrested within 8days and that the inquiry of entire incident will be carried out by retired high court judge.

The deadly violence in Lakhimpur has left 9 people dead with four farmers, four BJP workers including one driver and one scribe Raman Kashyap who was covering the protest. The internet remains suspended in Lakhimpur and section 144 is imposed in the area with special restrictions on entry of Punjabis as well.

The Freebie model of Punjab Elections And why Punjab can’t afford it

The northern state of Punjab is due for state elections in February/ March 2022. It is important to understand that the main issues around Punjab this time around are the Farmers Protest for repeal of the three laws & a law on MSP, justice for the martyrs in Behbal Kalan & Kotkapura Firing & Sacrilege incidents, sand and transport Mafia control, unemployment, power generation and supply for the state among many others that we are exploring in Baaz Podcast.

One thing that is common in all the main contending political parties is their urge to woo the voters of Punjab with offers of Freebies. Freebie is defined as a service or government scheme that comes at low or NO cost to citizens. While Freebies are essentially supposed to be the return of taxes that people pay to the government but in real sense Freebies announced by parties often exceed the incoming taxes that state receives.

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has often been in the news for his “Treasuries of the state are empty” statement. Captain Amrinder Singh during his tenure of 4.5 yrs constantly maintained that state is not earning and making money. Captain in his tenure used to write to centre to release the GST payments to the state. Add to this the Covid-19 pandemic and the state treasuries ran out of money in true sense as well. As per an estimate every new born in Punjab has an average debt of 18000/- ₹. This is a situation that demands action with shelving Freebie model for some years.

The most prominent advocates of Freebie model are Aam Aadmi Party because it has somehow modelled Delhi by providing basic essential services at low costs. AAP is also very effective in digitising the services that it is offering in Delhi and aims to bring those in Punjab.

Following in line is Sukhbir Badal’s SAD that has promised Freebies with one extra than AAP. SAD has promised new recruitments like AAP’s promise of employment for all. SAD has also announced credit schemes for students aspiring to go abroad for higher education among many other Freebies for other sections of the society like Free electricity upto some units, free water and free bus travel.

While Freebie model can be good to attract votes given that major vote bank in Punjab is peasantary it is not a viable model anymore. Post green revolution boom the state and its farmers made real money, the economy of the state was in top five states of India. Even though the period of Sikh struggle for sovereignty coincided with the boom in economy, there was hardly any impact on economy due to Sikh movement. As the peasantry became disillusioned with the GR the problems of rising input costs started to bother farmers. The situation in Indian agriculture has not changed in decades and hence has not changed Punjab’s basic economy. The number of income generating sources for the state have not increased. The available income generating sources be it the water and hydroelectricity are debt ridden projects with long term agreements with private players.

While politicians seem to ignore the issues at hand and play the flute of Freebies the reform committees like Montek Report have suggested lot of reforms for Punjab govt time and again. Montek report for example suggests that all procurement of crops be left to FCI ( Centre) and state should not spend resources to procure crops but successive governments in order to woo the largest vote bank which is farmers have deliberately spent state resources on procurement which is not even major. Similarly the report suggests that no further recruitment’s be done in Punjab Police but all successive governments try to fulfill their numbers promised by announcing recruitment’s in Police. Montek report is a report that has been shelved by Akalis and Congress alike to carry on the vote bank manifesto politics. It remains to be seen if AAP will follow the line of making promises in air or will actually do something about the economy of the state.

The Human cost of farmers Protest

With the death of farmer Sushil Kajal in Haryana the total number of farmers who have given their life to this movement climbs up to 602*. Sayunkt Kisan Morcha is collating the data of deaths of farmers. The farmers protest has entered into ninth month with lacs of farmers sitting on the borders of Delhi. The agitations against the political parties and specifically BJP have also strengthened in the states bordering Delhi.

Who are the dead farmers?

The maximum number of farmer deaths come from Punjab followed by Haryana and other states. As per data maintained by SKM upto Feb 2021, 248 farmers had died in the movement. As per their more recent data around 550 farmers had died out of which Punjab has a lions share of 350.

One thing that is common among all the dead farmers is that they were not rich farmers or the land cruiser owners but owners of an average of 2.59 acres of land. The maximum land owned by farmer who has died in the movement so far is 2 acres. These small marginal farmers have understood the effects of three laws and how they will lose their land share. Contrary to many Indian Right wing media claims and experts, it is not the large or Big Agriculturist or farmer that will suffer when laws are implemented but the small and marginal farmer who will be at the mercy of corporations for his livelihood.

An interesting insight into the farmer deaths in Punjab indicates that almost every farmer who died in the farmers protest has an average debt of 7lacs. In most cases this debt is non institutionalised (meaning not from the banks but private lenders). The problem of reforms in agriculture have pushed farmers to deaths on and off the borders of Delhi.

What has government done for the dead farmers?

The central government has said explicitly that it has no data on the farmer deaths and is still to acknowledge farmer deaths as alarming or triggering happening. Many in Haryana Govt too are not sympathetic to the deaths and have called the deaths as ‘normal’. JP Dalal, Agriculture minister of Haryana has gone on record to say that farmers would have died anyway even if they were in their homes.

Punjab government however has tried to stay with farmers in their thick and thin throughout the protests. Punjab legislative assembly on its day one of session had remembered the fallen farmers by standing in silence for the farmers.

Captain Amrinder Singh in January announced that his government would provide jobs to one family member each of those from the state who died during the farmers’ agitation at Delhi borders. The offer of government jobs was in addition to the compensation of ₹5 lakh that was supposed to be given to the families.

Punjab Government finally has given the orders of jobs to 104 legal heirs of the farmers who died during the protests.

Sikh body SGPC helped 153 families, who lost their member during the agitation by giving them Rs one lakh each in form of compensation. Similarly, 23 injured farmers were paid from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per head depending upon the nature of injury.

Broken skulls and broken families haven’t broken the resolve of Farmers

21 Year old Amin Khan says, “My father Major Khan died at the age of 42. He was the sole bread-winner of the family. We own just over an acre, but corporatisation of agriculture would sound the death-knell for small farmers like us. As a tribute to his sacrifice, both my grandmother and I regularly participate in the protests,”

Tales like this are commonplace in Punjab, as nine months have elapsed since the farmers have been protesting outside Delhi. Referred to as “shaheed” in villages, their families instead of grieving for them, have only firmed up their resolve to continue the protests till the laws are withdrawn.

The farmers faced brutal lathicharge in Karnal on Saturday. SDM Karnal Ayush Sinha was seen briefing the team of policemen to break the skulls of farmers, what followed was many fractured limbs and stitched skulls of farmers. The family of farmer who allegedly died due to lathicharge maintains that their fight against the three laws will continue until the laws are repealed.

The rising protests force SGPC to accept the 3 demands of Sikh Sadbhavna Dal

The protests by Sikh Sadbhavna Dal have intensified with many Sikh organisations and youth joining them in large numbers. SAD has launched agitations against SGPC’s move to demolish Guru Ram Das sarai and to preserve the historical structures unearthed from the digging behind Akal Takht Sahib.

The SSD has passed three resolutions against SGPC after which it was decided that jatha of eleven members of SSD will protest every day at the excavation site, however on the very first day of the protests ie 4th Aug, the members were arrested by police from Galliara when they were approaching the excavation site.

Noticing the law and order situation the deputy commissioner of Amritsar Gurpreet Singh Khaira and DSP of Police called upon both the parties ie three members from SSD and three members from SGPC to resolve the issues without creating law and order problems. Bhai Balvinder Singh Bhujed, Bhai Bachitar singh Sangrur, and Bhai Baljit singh of SSD met SGPC’s chief secretary Harjinder singh Dhami and Parikrama manager Gurvinder Singh.

SGPC agreed to the three demands of SSD in the meeting. The demands were agreed upon verbally. The demands accepted are

1. SGPC agreed that it won’t undertake any construction work on historical buildings without consulting the panel of Amritsar district administration and will also include two members of SSD in the discussions.

2. SGPC verbally agreed that it won’t demolish the Ram Das Sarai without consultations with historians and architects and won’t weaken the claim of 32,000 crores that is filed with GOI to compensate for damages during 1984 army assault.

3. SGPC agreed to put out the detailed plan on board where the Shoe house is made. The plan of Shoe house along with the uncovered historical site will be installed in three days as agreed by SGPC

SSD has maintained that no written assurance of the demands has been given by SGPC and hence the daily jatha of 11 Singhs will continue to protest until written assurance is given.

SGPC’s negligence of Sikh Affairs has brewed up morchas against the Sikh institution.

Sikh Sadbhavna Dal has started campaign to save Sikh heritage sites. Dal has vowed to intensify the protests from Aug 4. The protests are led by Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala who has been protesting since last 271 days to bring attention to 328 missing Saroops of Guru Garanth Sahib Ji.

Speaking on the stage of Panthic congregation many persons including Bhai Lovepreet singh, Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala, Bhai Harpreet Singh, Bhai Manpreet singh, amongst others said that the need of the hour was to start Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar to bring the management of Gurdwaras in the hands of Sikhs who follow the footsteps of Lachmann Singh Dharowali because as long as the management of Gurdwaras stays in the hands of Sikhs who bow to Badals and Captains there will never be any justice for Sikhs.

Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala said that SGPC understands that Guru Ramdas Sarai is the last remaining evidence of Indian army’s assault on Sikhs. Wadala said that SGPC is playing games with Panth by seeking damages from centre and simultaneously weakening the case by demolishing the last remaining evidence of the assault.

Bhai Wadala said that Sikh Sadbhavna Dal will not tolerate any injustice to Sikhs by orgs like SGPC. Wadala said that three resolutions have been passed to preserve and protect the Sikh heritage. The resolutions are

Resolution 1

The first resolution is that the members of SGPC should seek the advice of experts in architecture and antiquities before beginning any Kar Sewa on any historical building. The opinions of Panthic scholars and experts should be sought in this regard. A resolution should be passed in the General house of SGPC that any building which is 100yrs old or more or was a witness to 1984 assault should not be damaged without consulting the Panth. Sikh Sadbhavna Dal resolves that it will continue to make Sikhs aware about the wrong doings of SGPC and also urges SGPC to hand over the Sewa of restoration of Ram Das Sarai to Sadhbhavna Dal.

Resolution 2

The Sadbhavna Dal passed a resolution urging Sikh community to stop contributing Dasvandh to the Kar Sewa Wale Babey. Dal stressed out to youth to remove the Golaks of Babas from their Gurdwaras in their localities. It was resolved and urged to boycott Baba Jagtar Singh and Baba Kashmir Singh Bhuriwale. Baba Jagtar Singh has been involved in demolition of Darshni Deodi of Taran Taran Sahib whereas Baba Kashmir singh has demolished many Gurdwaras in the name of beautification.

Resolution 3

SGPC is urged to stop the excavation of the Galiara of Sri Darbar Sahib. The work should immediately be stopped as per notification of Amritsar Development Authority from July 8, 2021. Govt has so far sent three notices, Notice no 9616 from July 2, 2021, Notice 9779 from July 6, 2021 and notice 60 from July 8, 2021. The work has not been stopped by the Shiromani committee meaning that the work carried out is illegal and in defiance of notices. ASI has also asked the SGPC and ADA (Amritsar Development Authority) to preserve the excavated Bungas and ensure that it is not damaged any further.

SGPC’s all Panthic meet a sham show?

SGPC called upon many Panthic leaders and organisations recently to discuss the issues of Grooming of Sikh girls and sacrilege cases, however much to the surprise only people who are sympathetic to Badal family were part of the meeting. The meeting headed by none other than Jathedar Harpreet singh ji kept on whitewashing the role of Badals.

In the meeting which was called to discuss Sacrilege and grooming, blame games were played where Jathedar Harpreet singh accuses the Jathedar Jagatar Singh Hawara’s committee of being anti Sikh and anti Panth. The Hawara committee has questioned the intentions of meeting in which Ex IG Ranbir Singh Khatra was invited. Khatra had investigated the sacrilege and was also part of the first SIT that had given clean chit to Badals. Hawara committee has raised questions on why People like Justice Ranjeet singh and Kunwar Vijay Pratap were not part of the meeting if sacrilege was to be discussed.

Hawara Committee has also said that Khatra was responsible for killing many Sikhs in 1980s with Gill and should not be part of any Sikh congregation whatsoever. Wadala and Hawara Jathebandis expressed their sadness and anger on the developments in the meeting where SGPC president blamed the Sikhs who protested against sacrilege for inciting emotions leading to firing in Kotkapura. The Jathebandis have called on Jathedar Harpreet Singh to stop being the marketing officer for the Badals.

Opinion: Farmer leaders need to steer clear of Khalistan Bogey

Farmers protest has completed seven months on the borders of Delhi. Farmers have resolved that they won’t leave the borders until the three farm laws are repealed and MSP law is made.

The beginning of monsoon session of Indian Parliament was awaited by all farmers and supporters of Farmers Protest. In order to intensify the agitations against the three laws SKM had announced a march to the parliament on 22nd July.

This announcement by SKM had varied reactions from all sections of society and media. The right wing Indian media was quick to call the farmers as anarchists drawing parallels with the Republic Day parade that had gone wrong due to actions of Delhi Police.

The farmer leaders however did not want the protests to be derailed due to any untoward incident and hence had series of meetings with Delhi Police wherein the permissions were sought for the March. After two days of deliberations Delhi police granted the permission to hold parallel Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar. Notably the farmers were seeking permissions for protesting at Jantar Mantar on Nov 26, 2020.

Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) got active on social media announcing rewards for farmers for hoisting Khalistan flag on Indian Parliament. The message was amplified by some random accounts on social media. SFJ trend has not been surprising as this was the same method used earlier during Republic Day parade as well.

Farmer leader Ruldu Singh Mansa who has been protesting with farmers since the beginning of Farmers Protest tried to caution farmers about SFJ’s notorious intent to sabotage farmers protest. However in his speech he did not use the names and implied that Sant Bhindranwale got 25,000 sons of Punjab killed for his selfish reasons. KTV reported the speech which created backlash from the panthic circles and community.

Ruldu Singh Mansa was suspended from SKM for expressing the views that do not go in line with Farmers Protest and its agenda, however that did not calm down the tempers. In his follow up clarification interview with KTV, he clarified that he was not talking about Sant Bhindranwale but Jagjit Singh Chouhan. Mansa said that he like all Sikhs respects Sant Bhindranwale for his valour and fight at Morcha in 1984.

Farmers protest has been a hot mix of all the communities and ideologies, many of which are like oil and water. Khalsa Ideology and Communist ideology for an example have always come face to face in morcha of farmers. Khalsa has been spearheading the Morcha with langar, funding from Sangat and unconditional support from the Diaspora, this however has not stopped the communist ideologies to push their subtle agendas, be it giving Sonia Mann the space, celebrating her father or raising Khalistan Bogey. It is important for SKM to keep a balance and take the Morcha ahead