Mand, Capt Amarinder and Sukhbir share the same peace cause
Chandigarh, October 16: Political lexicon is fast changing in Punjab.
Demanding justice for sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib is being perceived as radicalism by the state actors.
By this definition, thousands of men and women have turned radicals since June 1 last when Akal Takht parallel Jathedar Dhian Singh Mand started his dharna at Bargari, the ground zero of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 when Punjab was under Akali Dal-BJP rule with Parkash Singh Badal as the chief minister.
This should be the main worry of the government not only in Punjab but also at the centre if one is to go by this definition.
It should also give anxious moments to Akali Dal president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who had been attacking Mand and other Bargari agitation leaders as agents of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI. After all, Panthic people are turning ISI agents and these are the same people who at one time constituted the backbone of Shiromani Akali Dal.
There is perceptible shift in Akali Dal’s support base.
Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh yesterday rightely asserted that he would not allow the ‘radicals’ to disturb peace. The obvious reference was to Bargari Insaaf Morcha leaders. In effect, there is just one leader commanding this agitation and he is Dhian Singh Mand. Others are in supportive role but without any decisive say in decision making.
Here is the basic issue.
Is demanding punishment to the perpetrators of sacrilege and killing of two protesters by the police in cold blood radicalism?
The focus of speech delivered by Mand on October 14 was peace and he repeatedly guaranteed peace. No leader barring Simranjit Singh Mann talked of Khalistan and he is always an exception and not taken seriously.
This is an agitation that has not witnessed any untoward incident despite thousands of people converging at Bargari.
The idiom now has to change. If demanding justice for sacrilege Guru Granth Sahib is radicalism, then all the definitions in the political discourse of the country would have to be reviewed.
It was not just sacrilege. It was conspiratorial sacrilege intended to challenge the followers of Guru Granth Sahib. It was a heinous crime.
The other aspect of this sacrilege is pardon secured for Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh by Parkash Singh Badal.
Entire effort now seems to be to divert the main discourse that is focussed on the sacrilege issue by posing it as threat to unity and integrity of the country and communal harmony in Punjab.
Sukhbir claimed that his father is the main force against creation of Khalistan.
However, the very fact can’t be overlooked that the only memorandum demanding Khalistan that was submitted to United Nations in Delhi was signed by Parkash Singh Badal.
An important aspect of this memorandum was that it was also signed by Gurcharan Singh Tohra who headed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee which is a constitutional body.
Peace is the common factor that is being talked about by all three players- Dhian Singh Mand, Capt Amarinder Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal. The issue is how one perceives peace and communal harmony.
Both Amarinder and Sukhbir have gone wrong on arithmetic concerning history. Sukhbir today talked of Congress conspiracy 25 years back to disturb Punjab by patronising radicals. Amarinder talked of disturbances 20 years back.
The cut-off date for that period is April 13, 1978 when chief minister in Punjab was Badal with Morarji Desai as the prime minister heading the Janata Party coalition.
The memorandum on Khalistan was submitted to UN in 1992.