February 23, 2021 3:18:06 am
On a day the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will celebrate the Pagdi Sambhal Diwas, a group of farmers will hold a rally in support of the farm agitation in Bathinda’s Mehraj, the ancestral village of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The SKM, however, has completely distanced itself from the February 23 rally called by gangster-turned-social activist Lakhbir Singh Sidhana, alias Lakha Sidhana who is absconding after being booked by Delhi Police for instigating violence during the farmers’ tractor rally at Red Fort on Republic Day.
Delhi Police has also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information on Lakha Sidhana.
The rally – ‘Naujawan Sangrash Sehyog Jatha Punjab’ or the ‘Youth Mahapanchayat’ – is being organised by Baldeep Singh, a Bathinda resident who is also the state vice president of separatist group Dal Khalsa. The posters of the rally carry pictures of Deep Sidhu, the Punjabi actor currently in jail in connection with the R-Day violence, and Lakha Sidhana.
“Our Youth Mahapanchayat will further strengthen the SKM. We will be discussing about youngsters who have been arrested (by Delhi Police) and lodged in jails. We will appeal to youngsters to reach Delhi borders to add numbers at the ongoing morcha. Apart from fighting against farm laws, the fight is also against fake FIRs lodged by Delhi Police to target youngsters, including activists Disha Ravi and Nodeep Kaur,” said Baldeep Singh.
He said a formal invite has been sent to the SKM. “As of now our main speakers will be youth leaders Paramjeet Singh Mand, Mandheer Singh and Tanveer Singh Naruana,” he added.
The SKM leaders, however, categorically denied being part of this rally and also issued an appeal urging people not to attend it.
Jagmohan Singh Patiala, member of the All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee, said, “On behalf of the SKM, I appeal to everyone
to stay focused on the agenda given by SKM to fight against farm laws. They should mark February 23 as Pagdi Sambhal Diwas to celebrate birth anniversary of Chacha Ajit Singh. I appeal youth to stay focused in this struggle. SKM has already decided not to organise any
Mahapanchayat in Punjab and Haryana as people there are well aware about the protests.”
During the Kisan Mazdoor Maha Rally organised by BKU (Ugrahan) in Barnala on Sunday, the outfit’s Joginder Singh Ugrahan, in an apparent reference to Deep Sidhu, had said, “January 26 incident was part of the plan by a person who used to speak about Khalistan, Anandpur Sahib pact. He had set up a separate stage in Punjab and used to speak against farmer unions.”
Deep Sidhu had set up a stage near the Shambhu border which was shared by Lakha Sadhana.
Ugrahan said that protesting farmers were labelled as Khalistanis and Urban Naxals “and after January 26 episode, such voices became louder”.
He said the SKM working to get those arrested in connection with R-Day violence released “so, let us remain focused.”
Baldeep Singh, however, said, “I cannot comment on the statements of SKM leaders, but our focus is to strengthen the movement and we too are fighting for repeal of farm laws and making efforts to get our people released from jails.”
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