Human Rights Watch: Punjab Situation Looking Like Syria

AMRITSAR SAHIB—Sikhs in large numbers, along with activists from many political and human rights organizations are being rounded up by the Police throughout the State. There have been reports about activists being roughed by the Punjab Police for showing opposition to LK Advani’s visit to Punjab. Similar reports from the neighboring state of Haryana have also been received. LK Advani is in Punjab as part of his notorious Chetana Yatra which has angered people living across India.

Sikhs in Punjab are showing animosity towards LK Advani for his anti-Sikh agenda. The main reason behind statewide protests was the fact that Advani had urged the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to carry out Operation Blue Star. LK Advani is the main figure of the Bhartiya Janta Party, whose right-wing Shiv Sena terrorist organization is also held accountable for oppression against other minority Indian communities.

Video of Sikhs being roughed up by the Punjab Police, Courtesy: Sikh Channel UK

In Bathinda and Barnala, almost 100 people were reported to be arrested in relation to the protests against Advani that took place. The decision to take strict action against those rallying has come at the behest of the ruling Akali Dal (B) party. Along with civilians, supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal (A), activists belonging to the Akali Dal (Delhi) group also rallied against Advani. These activists raised slogans against Advani and also waved black flags to express their anguish. Protests have been largely nonviolent with people trying to raise their voice against State organized oppression.

With hundreds of protestors being arrested from various villages, the situation in Punjab is becoming like Syria where the State Government is providing Z-plus security to Advani and arresting anyone who is joining the protests. Police have been given orders to arrest anyone with or without cause and this right is being exercised indiscriminately by them. At various rallies, police have been seen deployed in large numbers trying to disrupt the protests.

LK Advani also toured Amritsar Sahib to lure votes by ranting about corruption in India. Various Akali Dal (B) and BJP leaders were seen accompanying him for his visit to Sri Darbar Sahib. Security personnel dressed in civilian clothes were seen deployed throughout the premises. Although the visit remained peaceful, Sikh Sangat gathered near Sri Akal Takht Sahib complex and raised slogans against Advani. To further put salt in Sikh wounds, the SGPC also gave Advani with a siropa, or robe of honor in a controversial manner.  Although the Sri Harmandir Sahib Ardasia sevadar refused to give Advani a siropa, the SGPC honored him at the SGPC Information Office instead.  Advani refused to answer questions by the press at the Darbar Sahib complex.


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