—Even as Badal family-controlled Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has no longer remained in power in Punjab and Central government of India, it is still facing people’s anger that is generally faced by an incumbent political party.
This anger was witnessed on Monday when the party president Sukhbir Badal came to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib after the conclusion of Shaheedi Sabha organized there to observe martyrdom of younger Sahibzade of Sri Guru Gobind Singh. During his visit, he was shown black flags by the Sikh youths and farmers.
He was addressing the media in the gurdwara guest house when a group of youths present outside started raising slogans against him and the Modi government. To prevent any untoward incident, the police hurriedly escorted him to his car from the back gate of the gurdwara. However, the youths continued raising slogans against him and also chased his vehicle. As Sukhbir left the place, the local SAD leaders had to face the wrath of the youths. Protestors raised the point that the Badals were part of the conspiracy to promulgate three laws to ruin the farmers.
A day after the protest, the party blamed the ruling Congress for this incident. “Congress goons had not only hurt the sentiments of the Sikh ‘sangat’ by their reprehensible acts but had also insulted the tradition of ‘langar’ by upturning utensils of tea made for devotees”, senior party leaders Prem Chandumajra and Daljit Cheema said in a press statement.
Refuting this blame, Congress MLA from Fatehgarh Sahib and Cabinet Minister Kuljit Singh Nagra said, “Guru Sahib will not forgive us if we were behind this incident”.
However, this is not the first such protest the SAD president faced after the party was defeated by Punjab voters in 2017 assembly elections.
In September 2017, Sukhbir faced protests the moment his vehicle entered the main road leading to the venue of the party’s workers meeting at Faridkot , with the Sikh protesters waving black flags and raising slogans against him. At the venue, police presence prevented the situation from going out of hand, though tension prevailed for 15 minutes.
The anger still prevails against Badals as they have not been punished for what they did in their 10-year last regime in Punjab. Sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari village of Faridkot and killing of two Sikh protesters by Police at Behbal Kalan took place in their regime and the Sikhs are waiting for justice in this case. As Sukhbir had charge of homo affairs in the state and is allegedly responsible for ordering firing that killed two protesters, no action has been taken against him so far.
In case of three farm laws, Sukhbir and his wife Harsimrat Badal who was union minister then, supported the legislation of the laws at cabinet level, when the SAD was an ally of the BJP in centre. Though the SAD left the saffron party under their pressure, the people of Punjab still consider them guilty of the wrongdoing.