The “Nelson Mandela” of India and the Apartheidical Repression of the Sikhs

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The recent crisis in Punjab has once again brought up the poor state of affairs for the Sikhs in their own land. The gross discrimination meted out to the Sikhs is comparable to the repression of Black people in the times of Apartheid Policy in South Africa. PM Narendra Modi proudly sees Nelson Mandela in Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Sikhs certainly don’t see any comparison in the two and I guess Mr Nelson Mandela’s noble soul wouldn’t be too happy with the generosity of Narendra Modi either. Nevertheless, what the people of Punjab and Sikhs in particular can relate this comparison with, is their own condition. They’ve been subjected to such a stark Apartheidical discrimination in some form or the other.

 

Let’s try to examine the events as they happened and the response from various individuals and organizations.

 

1) Desecration at Village Bargadi: The sacred Angs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji Maharaj ripped from the sacred ‘bir’ were found scattered in the streets of the village Bargadi. Apparently, there was a written threat given by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda, followers of Baba Ram Rahim, that if Ram Rahim’s new movie was blocked in Punjab, they will dishonour the Guru of the Sikhs. The administration did not pay any heeds to this open threat and threat was actually carried out.

 

2) Response from Sikhs: Despite the Sikhs under tremendous economic and social pressures and the huge farmers’ agitation going strong, they couldn’t take this sacrilege and poured into the streets of villages and towns, angry yet totally composed. In a perfect display of harmony and self restrain the Sikhs decided to go on peaceful sit down protests demanding immediate action to nab the culprits and bring them to book. Punjab saw men, women, children and elderly coming together and doing a sit down protest with ‘Naam Simran”.

 

The protest grew stronger in number and majestic in delivery as it was hard to comprehend that utmost sacrilege was done to the Guru of the Sikhs. They still showed extra-ordinary restrain, doing no harm to any body or property. The sit down protests grew in number across Punjab so did the ‘beadbi” of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji as more Birs were discovered with ripped Angs.

 

3) The Jalian Wala Bagh of Kotakpura: On 14 Oct 2015, while the Sikhs were peacefully sitting on the roads, doing the holy simran, they were set upon by the Police forces. Punjab Police used brutal force on harmless peaceful protesters; amongst them were old men, women and children. Tear gases, water canons, lathi charges were used to clear off the area they were occupying. The police then did the General Dyer and opened fire on the non violent protesters. This led to killing of two innocent young Sikhs, Bhai Kishan Bhagwan Singh and Bhai Gurjeet Singh,while around one hundred got injured several of them copping serious injuries. In further display of senseless brutality many protesters were booked with intentions of murder!

 

4) Response turned into Movement: The unjustified display of terror by Police and dead response from the State Government let people come out ever more from their homes and block streets, roads and major intersections in villages and town. The Sikhs were now fully enraged with the heavy handling of the situation. Punjab was totally blocked and brought to a standstill.

It needs a special mention that the Muslims from Malerkotla carrying the legacy of their ancestors, once again, stood with their Sikh Brothers and Sisters and took part in the protests demanding action against the culprits.

5) Media Coverage and Police Response:  The national media, living up to their set standards for Sikhs, didn’t bother to cover the sacrilege of Guru Sahib and was shown as this was a sacrilege of just a holy book, while taking away the importance of ‘Guruship’ to the Scripture. The Punjabi Media emphasised more on the withdrawal of acceptance to the apology of Ram Rahim. They deliberately didn’t reveal the extent to which the people had blocked the state, especially in the Malwa Belt. Parkash Singh Badal once again seemed helpless for the Sikhs and failed his newly awarded title of “ Nelson Mandela”.

The police in the meantime revealed “foreign hands” behind the beadbi of Guru Sahib. They claimed people from Dubai and Australia funded the sacrilege. In this regard, they took custody of two young Amritdhari Sikh brothers who were part of the demonstration as the alleged main culprits Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh were thrown behind bars and roughed up. The Sikh who police alleged funded Rupinder Singh came out publicly and shared that the money was given after Rupinder was badly injured by the Police lathi charge for him to get medical treatment.

6) Sikh leadership and Parcharaks: Sikh leadership outside the government and Parcharaks came together on one platform and showed unity on the issue of “beadbi”.

They all decided to call for Sarbat Khalsa on 10 Nov 2015 to address future course of the Sikh Panth. The call for Sarbat Khalsa has been received with full support from India and from Diaspora.  Although,  there are scholars who have tried to diffuse this momentum by trying to create doubt in the minds of the Sikhs.

In the meantime, the joint groups have come up with a nine point resolution that vowed to continue the struggle to get justice for the sacrilege of the Guru.

7) Symbolic Message: So far it has been clearly shown to the Sikhs that their Guru has been dishonoured multiple times and even if they protest peacefully they’d face the heavy hands of the Governments. The Governments have put across Amritdhari Sikhs as the main culprits to send a message that it’s the Sikhs that are responsible for their own plight. They would like the international community to accept this story too and show no sympathy to the Sikhs.

This has a very sad parallel with the Black people in South Africa who faced similar violence and their own people were instrument of perpetrating the violence on them.

The civil society and intelligentsia have so far shown utmost insensitivity and complete blindness to the dishonouring of the eternal Guru of the Sikhs, although they’re returning their awards on account of growing intolerance but no words for the Sikhs! What a dishonesty of character!

Due to Guru’s grace the Sikhs have stood up and decided to hold the Sarbat Khalsa and are trying to regain the complete independence and permanent sovereignty of the Akal Takht Sahib, just as it used to be and as gifted by Gurus. It is a historic event in line for us and an opportunity to set the Akal Takht free and take some panthic decisions in the right spirit of Sikhi.

Talking of History, Everytime, Sarbat Khalsa has been organised, the state and the Anti Sikh forces have always tried to contain it. 2015 will be no exception; the Sikhs of Guru must do what they can to make this event a successful one!

May Guru Bless the Panth!

 

Karanjit Singh

Melbourne

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and the opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of SADA Times  and SADA Times does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same

 

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