CHANDIGARH, Punjab—After facing backlash for appointing Farzana Alam, wife of Sikhs’ butcher Izhar Alam, as general secretary of its women wing ‘Istari Akali Dal’, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today revoked the appointment.
In a press release issued here, the party spokesperson said Bibi Jagir “Kaur”, president of the Istri Akali Dal has amended the list of the new appointments made to to expand the organizational structure of the wing in consultation with the district leadership of the party, wherein she cancelled the appointment of Farzana.
She was replaced with another woman Muslim leader Bibi Parween Nusrat. She has been given the post of vice president of the wing. The party sources said only appointment has been revoked and his membership will remain intact.
Notably, the move of inducting her into the party as general secretary of the women wing drew stiff criticism from the Sikh masses. Even internal segments of the SAD (Badal) opposed it. The Australia unit of the SAD (B) came openly against this appointment.
Kiranjot Kaur, SGPC member and granddaughter of late Master Tara Singh, was also inducted as general secretary in the same list. Lodging strong protest against it, he rejected the post in protest the next day after reading the newspapers.
She said, “I remember the terror created by Izhar Alam’s ‘Alam Sena’ in late 1980’s when he was SSP Amritsar. Sikh youth were targeted. Then he retired and became ‘panthak’, even became Vice President of Shiromani Akali Dal (B). Now his wife has been nominated as General Secretary Istri Akali Dal. Fine, your prerogative! But why put me on the same list? I do not want any post, thank you”.
During the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Izhar Alam as the Senior Superintendent in Punjab Police played a major role in suppressing the armed Sikh struggle, in which he is known to have used inhumane methods. He is the architect of the infamous “Alam Sena” also known as “Black Cats” responsible for fake encounters, in which thousands of Sikh youths were killed under the pretext of fighting “terrorism”.
Wikileaks had also highlighted Alam’s involvement in the violation of human rights in the form of extra-judicial killings in Punjab.
Former DGP, KP Gill, had publicly praised the Alam Sena by stating that the Punjab police could not have functioned without them. There are several human rights cases pending against Alam, and other Punjab Police officers involved in various human rights atrocities that occurred in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
It is pertinent to mention that during Punjab assembly elections in 2012, Parkash Badal fielded Izhar Alam as SAD candidate from Malerkotla seat. At that time, Sikhs had opposed this decision harshly. After facing a backlash, Akalis transferred the party ticket to Alam’s wife Farzana Alam, changing her name to ‘Nissara Khatoon’. This was nothing, but a clever attempt made to fill the eyes of Sikhs with dust.
Even the Sant Samaj led by Damdami Taksal (Mehta) chief Harnam Singh Dhumma campaigned for Mrs. Alam in 2012 assembly elections and a photo of Dhumma with Mr. Alam went viral over social media.
Despite resentment among the Sikhs against the Alam family, the SAD (B) president Sukhbir Badal appointed Mr. Alam as vice-president of the party which claims itself to be the sole representative party of the Sikhs.
The fresh move reveals that the SAD (Badal) leaders are still in association with the forces which played a role against the Sikhs.
It is worth mentioning here that the SAD (B) also appointed Sumedh Saini, another such butcher of the Sikhs, as DGP of Punjab. Saini was recently nominated in a case of extra-judicial killing. Besides, he is also an accused in Behbal Kalan firing that killed two Sikhs demonstrating for justice in Bargari sacrilege case.