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.
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.”
“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.