A Punjabi magazine with a cover on the ‘Referendum 2020’ and a report hailing a man arrested by the Punjab Police for his alleged involvement in targeted killings was on sale at the Shaheedi Sabha in Fategarh Sahib Wednesday.
The magazine, ‘Vangaar’ (Challenge), was on sale outside the stall of Shiroman Akali Dal (Amritsar). The same magazine was on sale last year too, with a cover on Burhan Wani, the Kashmiri Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was killed by security forces in 2016.
The Punjab government, and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, have underlined several times that attempts were being made by some to revive secessionist forces in Punjab. The chief minister has repeatedly linked Pakistan’s decision to open the Kartarpur Corridor to this, describing it as a scheme by the ISI.
Yet, the radical magazine was being displayed and was for sale quite openly, even with all the police deployment at the congregation. The September issue has a cover story justifying the so-called ‘Referendum 2020’. It also carries a report on the desecration incidents in Punjab.
The October issue has a cover hailing targeted killing accused Ramandeep Singh Bagga for attacking Shiv Sena (Hind) leader Nishant Sharma in a Ropar jail in September.
In the December issue, it alleges that the Punjab police had made wrongful arrests of eight persons for the November 18 grenade attack on a Nirankari gathering in Amritsar. It also raises questions about the media’s role on sensitive issues. Fatehgarh Sahib Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon was unavailable for comment.