March 14, 2021 3:26:26 am
Farmer unions have come in for criticism for keeping mum on stopping Sikh jatha to Pakistan and Enforcement Directorate raids on Punjab MLA Sukhpal Khaira while reacting to the Income Tax raids on Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu.
Khaira said, “ED raids on my house were due to my support to farmer agitation. Only farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni spoke for me. Farmer unions should come out and defend everybody. Not only me, but every youth who is arrested or being hunted down by the BJP government. Farmer unions can’t be selective. Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu can speak for themselves. They are not defenceless. I too will defend myself. But farmer unions must speak for the defenceless.”
However, the farmers’ union denied the allegation that they were selective. “We don’t know why the Sikh jatha was stopped from going to Pakistan. What Harjit Grewal has said is also not true. Farmer agitation is not of Sikhs. It is of farmers. It is wrong to link the movement with Sikhs. So we condemn if the government is victimising Sikhs by linking them to farmer agitation,” said Sanyukat Kisan Morcha leader Jagmohan Singh.
He said, “Sometimes we are not able to cover all the aspects. We don’t know facts why jatha to Nankana Sahib was stopped. Was it a technical reason or had it something to do with SGPC activism in farmer agitation? Give us evidence that it was stopped due to SGPC support to farmer agitation, and we will react.”
He said, “There must be some evidence that Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap were raided due to their link with farmer agitation. So we reacted. Sukhpal Khaira has no link with farmer agitation. He never joined us.”
Last month, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh had alleged that the Central government had stopped a special Sikh Jatha to Pakistan at the last moment in order to stop Sikhs from participating in the farm agitation.
Recently, Punjab BJP leader Harjit Grewal wrote a letter and accused the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee of giving a religious colour to the farm agitation by providing langar, medical aid and other facilities to the protesters.
However, SGPC president Jagir Kaur said, “It is up to farmer unions to react. But every Sikh has condemned BJP leader Harjit Grewal for what he said. It is true that farmer agitation is not of Sikhs. But Sikhs are on target due to their visible identity and their principles of standing and fighting for what is right. Sikhs are facing hate speech and hate crime since the farmer agitation went global. Sikhs have always fought alone and we will keep speaking for ourselves. It doesn’t matter if anyone else speaks for us or not.”
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