Amid farmers’ stir, India’s NIA summons more than 40 Sikh and Punjab activists

—Amid the widespread farmers’ stir against three farm laws, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that works under the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, has sent notices to more than 40 Punjabi and Sikh activists. NIA has asked these persons to appear before it at its headquarters at New Delhi in connection with a case registered by it under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and IPC sections related to sedition charges.

Signed by different investigation officers, the notices were received by these persons on Friday. They have been summoned on different dates beginning from January 18.

The case in connection with which the persons have been summoned was registered on December 15, 2020, at the NIA headquarters, New Delhi, under section 120-B, 124-A (sedition), 153B of the IPC, and sections 13, 17, 18B, 20 of the UAPA.

Content of all the notices is the same, barring the recipient’s detail, date of summoning, and detail of the sender.

“Whereas it appears that you are acquainted with the circumstances of the case noted below, which is not under the investigation by me under Chapter XII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, you are hereby required to attend before undersigned at National Investigation Agency, Hqrs…”, reads it.

Notably, film artist turned activist Deep Sidhu’s brother Mandeep Singh has also received the notice. “This is just a tactic to pressurize me as I have been active for the last several months for the cause of farmers. Sending the notice to my brother is totally unreasonable. My family just supported me in my activism but never participated in any of the activities. Still, I will not bow down before these tactics,” said Sidhu.

Those who have also been summoned included journalist Baltej Pannu, Parmjit Singh Akali, Palwinder Singh, Nobeljit Singh, Ranjit Singh Damdami Taksal, Surinder Singh Thikriwala, and others Sikh activists based in Amritsar, Ludhiana, and Hoshiarpur mainly. 

Ahead of the much talked about January 26 tractor parade, this act of the NIA is being perceived as one that aimed at terrorizing Punjab people, who are playing a leading role in the agitation going on at the borders of Delhi, the national capital of India.

Following the notice to Sidhu’s brother, the farmers union leaders are being questioned as they are terming Sidhu “agent” of the government.

Some of the notices sent to the activists are as follows –