Pos­ing a di­rect chal­lenge to the ra­bidly com­mu­nal right-wing ide­o­logue Rashtriya Swayam Se­wak agenda of turn­ing In­dia into a Hindu coun­try, sys­tem­at­i­cally be­ing pur­sued by the pre­sent Naren­dra Modi-led Bhar­tiya Janata Party gov­ern­ment, two Sikh po­lit­i­cal par­ties -Dal Khalsa and Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (Am­rit­sar) have called for a Pun­jab Bandh on 25 Jan­u­ary 2020 to counter this. The par­ties have said that the CAA, NRC and NRP are part of this pro-Hin­dutva agenda and noth­ing else.

IN A DE­TER­MINED MOVE TO CON­TEST BJP’S MARCH TO­WARDS MAK­ING IN­DIA A HINDU RASH­TRA, to counter Modi Gov­ern­men­t’s anti-peo­ple leg­is­la­tions – CAA and NRC and to protest against con­sti­tu­tional in­jus­tices and in­equal­ity, Dal Khalsa and Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (Am­rit­sar) have called for com­plete shut­down in Pun­jab on the eve of In­di­a’s 70th Re­pub­lic day on 25 Jan­u­ary 2020.

“Pun­jab will re­main shut on Jan­u­ary 25 to reg­is­ter a Pun­jab-wide protest that Pun­jab will not be part of a theo­cratic Hindu state – a dream be­ing pur­sued by those run­ning the pre­sent gov­ern­ment”, de­clared party lead­ers Sim­ran­jit Singh Mann and Harpal Singh Cheema at a joint press con­fer­ence in Ja­land­har.

“This is a move against the fas­cist de­signs, poli­cies and ac­tions of the Modi gov­ern­ment. The gov­ern­ment of In­dia wants to change the de­mo­graph­ics of the North­east also but the cat is now out of the bag,” read the joint state­ment is­sued at the press meet.

“We never had any il­lu­sions about the se­cre­tive mo­tives of the BJP to con­vert In­dia into a Hindu coun­try. Re­cently the skele­tons started to tum­ble out of their cup­board, out one by one -ab­ro­ga­tion of ar­ti­cle 370, pay­ing the way for con­struc­tion of Ram Mandir through a court ver­dict and amend­ment to the Cit­i­zen­ship Act and the pro­posed NRC,” said Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (Am­rit­sar) pres­i­dent Sim­ran­jit Singh Mann. “We are even aware that some more sin­is­ter plans are afoot, ” added Mann.

Sim­ran­jit Singh Mann praised the en­voys of 18 coun­tries who were taken on a guided tour to Kash­mir for not toe­ing the In­dian line and slammed the gov­ern­ment for at­tempt­ing to man­age such vis­its to prop­a­gate the nar­ra­tive that all is well in Kash­mir.

Dal Khalsa Bandh Call

The Pun­jab Bandh call by the two par­ties one day be­fore In­di­a’s Re­pub­lic Day is likely to be wel­comed by the stu­dent fra­ter­nity in Pun­jab, which is al­ready up in arms af­ter the state vi­o­lence at Jamia, the goondaism and vi­o­lence by ABVP at JNU in Delhi, the re­pres­sion at Ali­garh Mus­lim Uni­ver­sity, the com­plete law­less­ness of the state ma­chin­ery in the Ut­tar Pradesh af­ter the anti-CAA protests.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the Pun­jab Chief Min­is­ter Cap­tain Amarinder Singh has al­ready an­nounced his op­po­si­tion to CAA.

Dal Khalsa pres­i­dent Harpal Singh Cheema en­listed the long litany of the Modi gov­ern­ments’ in­jus­tices and de­nial of rights to jus­tify their call for bandh. The de­mo­li­tion of Bha­gat Ravi­das Mandir, de­mo­li­tion of Guru Nanak Mutt at Puri, be­trayal of  Sikhs by cheat­ing them dur­ing the 550 years of Guru Nanak by call­ing for re­lease of pris­on­ers who had com­pleted prison terms and then not do­ing it and the fail­ure to bring the killers of Be­hbal Kalan fir­ing to book has out­raged Sikhs and Pun­jabis over the last years.”

Dal Khalsa Bandh Call

“The at­tack on protest­ing stu­dents at Jamia, AMU and JNU stu­dents by state-spon­sored goons af­fil­i­ated with BJP’s stu­dents’ wing ABVP,” has stirred the con­science of the peo­ple of Pun­jab and a Pun­jab Bandh for this is ab­solutely im­per­a­tive.

Vet­eran Dal Khalsa leader Har­cha­ran­jit Singh Dhami said Modi and Shah should make no mis­take. “If they are stub­born in im­ple­ment­ing their wrong and au­to­cratic de­ci­sions de­spite coun­try­wide protests, we are more de­ter­mined and com­mit­ted to op­pos­ing it tooth and nail,” said he.

“The In­dian con­sti­tu­tion has no sanc­tity left af­ter hav­ing been amended more than 130 times in the last 70 years. Why not a sin­gle amend­ment to ful­fil the as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple? asked Dhami.

Dal Khalsa spokesper­son Kan­war Pal Singh made a fer­vent ap­peal to Mus­lims, Chris­tians, Hin­dus, Dal­its and Sikhs of Pun­jab to make the call for bandh suc­cess­ful by clos­ing their ed­u­ca­tional and com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments, banks, petrol pumps on Jan­u­ary 25. He, how­ever, clar­i­fied that med­ical fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing hos­pi­tals and chemist shops won’t be af­fected by the strike call.

The Pun­jab bandh on 25 Jan­u­ary is a move against the fas­cist de­signs, poli­cies and ac­tions of the Modi gov­ern­ment. The gov­ern­ment of In­dia wants to change the de­mo­graph­ics of the North­east also but the cat is now out of the bag,

“The strike would be peace­ful and there would be no rail dis­rup­tion,” read the Dal Khalsa state­ment.

Sikh Youth of Pun­jab pres­i­dent Paramjit Singh Mand, ex­press­ing shock at the Delhi Po­lice claim of iden­ti­fy­ing the JNUSU Pres­i­dent Aishe Ghosh as one of the per­pe­tra­tors of the anti-JNU vi­o­lence, said, “The bi­ased JNU Vice-Chan­cel­lor, who is play­ing the BJP game must be re­moved forth­with.” “We will urge stu­dents all over Pun­jab to join this peace­ful bandh to en­dorse sol­i­dar­ity with the stu­dent fra­ter­nity,” he added.