NEW DELHI—The on-going protests against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar carried on for the fifth consecutive day however taking an ugly turn when the police forcefully interrupted the peaceful protest by the Sikhs.
The Sikhs conducting a peaceful march were on their way to PM Manmohan Singh’s residence to submit a memorandum seeking action against Sajjan Kumar, when they were stopped by the police and ‘lathi’ charged. Extensive measures were taken to ensure Sikhs do not carry forward the peaceful protest. Elderly men and women were also not spared by the police.
Many protestors were arrested and four of the senior leaders – Onkar Singh Thapar, Manjinder Singh, Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed and Kuldeep Singh Bhogal were injured by the Delhi Police. These Sikhs, including others had to be hospitalized.
The whole incident exposed the hypocritical nature of the Government, which played a very offensive role in stopping peaceful protests by the Sikhs but at the same time, allowing criminals like Sajjan Kumar roam freely.
Hunger Strike by Bibi Nirpreet Kaur Continues for Third Day
Meanwhile Bibi Nirpreet Kaur’s condition has started deteriorating on the third day of her fast, which was launched as a sign to protest against Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal. The president of All India Sikh Student Federation Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed has appealed to the entire Sikh community to gather in Jantar Mantar to support the cause and not let police brutalities hinder their struggle for justice.
Ludhiana, PUNJAB—Meanwhile, more than a dozen major trains were delayed owing to the protest by Sikhs held on railway tracks in different parts of Punjab. The riot victims lodged resentment against Karkardooma court’s decision announcing the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar. Sajjan Kumar is a senior Congress leader who was involved in anti-Sikh pogroms of 1984.
The protest gained momentum today when the major trains including Shatabadi Express, Amritsar Sirsa Express, Jammu Chennai Express, New Delhi Amritsar Superfast, Chattisgarh Amritsar Express, Hawra Amritsar Express, Amritsar Mumbai West Express, Ludhiana Dhuri, and Ludhiana Ferozepur Express were delayed for more than four hours.
The activists of Sikh Student Federation and Victim Welfare society got on railway tracks early in the morning at 5 am following an ardas in Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib.
Promises by SGPC – Avtar Makkar Appeals in Behalf of Parkash Badal
Later Avtar Makkar (President SGPC) arrived on the scene convincing the protesters to stop the protest. He assured them that SGPC was taking intense measures to provide justice to the victims. He opposed the acquittal for Sajjan Kumar and alleged that efforts are being made to stop the execution of Prof. Davinderpal Bhullar.
Paramjeet Singh Khalsa (President Federation Mehta) said that Sikhs are being denied justice for the last 29 years despite the fact that majority of Sikhs sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle for independence. Bibi Gurdeep Kaur, Paramjeet Singh Khalsa and Surjeet Singh Dugri led the protests followed by hundreds of workers and threatened to continue the protests if their demands were not fulfilled.
Although Sikh leaders present at the protest complied with request of Mr. Makkar to stop protesting, it was evident that the SGPC President was there on request of Parkash Badal. The protests in Ludhiana caused a major hurdle not only to local administration but for the entire State Government. If such protests continue, Punjab Government would need to play a more convincing role to stand up for the rights of the Sikh community.