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Changing Faces Of Protest Sikh Radical Leaders Take Centre Stage, Sideline AAP Leaders

Darpan News Desk IANS, 16 Oct, 2018
  • Changing Faces Of Protest Sikh Radical Leaders Take Centre Stage, Sideline AAP Leaders
Radical Sikh leaders protesting at Bargari in Faridkot district have slowly but surely taken centre stage, occupying the religio-politico space yielded by the Shiromani Akali Dal after the latter was discredited on the issues of sacrilege and the subsequent police firing on Sikh protesters. These leaders have also not allowed both AAP factions to latch on to their religious agenda.
 
 
Parallel Jathedars Dhian Singh Mand and Baljit Singh Daduwal sidelined Sukhpal Singh Khaira and other AAP leaders at the Mahan Shaheedi Samagam at Bargari on Sunday. The duo made it clear that no political agenda was to be announced by any speaker from the stage. 
 
 
They also gave limited time to AAP leaders to address the gathering. The Bargari Morcha organisers ensured that the focus remained on seeking punishment for those who killed two Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan, not on the bashing of political parties.
 
 
SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann, who is part of the team that launched the morcha in June, did rake up the issue of “discrimination with Sikhs”, but sources said he was rebuked by other organisers for his outburst. On October 7, too, he was reprimanded by Sikh preachers and United Akali Dal leaders.
 
 
 
 
Sources said though initially Mand was against the October 7 rally, he was overwhelmed by the response. The Sunday’s event was entirely his show, where he targeted the ruling Congress for failing to arrest the police officers booked for murder and giving them time to seek legal recourse.
 
 
The perception that the Congress government is going soft on the “perpetrators of injustice to their religion” drew people in sizeable numbers to Sunday’s event. This seems to have emboldened Mand and Daduwal, who highlighted a larger Sikh agenda – seeking punishment for those who committed sacrilege and the release of 20 Sikh prisoners lodged in jails outside Punjab.
 
 
As voices against the monopolisation of Sikh political institutions and the clamour for holding elections to the SGPC grows louder, these hardliners are seeing an opportunity to take charge.

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