October 9, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (Mann) editor Simranjit Singh Mann has responded to an editorial by The Tribune.
The October 9 editorial of The Tribune titled “Dangerous, petty politics” says “rallies can play into wrong hands” while referring to October 7 Sikh gathering at Bargari village.
Pointing the success of Bargari gathering S. Simranjit Singh Mann wrote to the Editor of The Tribune: “Since your newspaper has been referring to the Bargari Sikh’s as radicals and sometimes as terrorists, extremists and hardliners and Badalites as ISI agents, then for the Union government and your newspaper you must now tell us whether the radical Sikhs and ISI agents have overtaken the political space in the Punjab? “.
Full Text of Letter written by S. Simranjit Singh Mann reads as follows:
Dated-9th October 2018
The Editor, The Tribune,
Please refer to your editorial “Dangerous, petty politics”, in which our party has taken delight to your newspapers lessening of antagonism to the freedom and liberty liking Sikh’s of our creed.
For instance on 6th October 2018 your newspaper informed the public that on the following day the 7th of October 2018 there would be three political gatherings of the Congress, Badal Akali Dal and the radicals at Bargari.
Along with your newspaper giving the prefix radical to us Sikhs, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal informed the public that ISI agents had gathered at Bargari.
However, what you call the Sikh radicals and Sukhbir Singh’s ISI agents at Bargari on 7th October 2018, had a bigger and a more vigorous gathering than both the Congress Party and Badalites put together.
Since your newspaper has been referring to the Bargari Sikh’s as radicals and sometimes as terrorists, extremists and hardliners and Badalites as ISI agents, then for the Union government and your newspaper you must now tell us whether the radical Sikhs and ISI agents have overtaken the political space in the Punjab?
In our party the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar’s) analysis, that despite the taunts of your newspaper and the Badalites we put up the greatest peaceful and democratic show of our strength at Bargari.
Simranjit Singh Mann,
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).
The Concerned Editorial of The Tribune Reads as follows:
Dangerous, petty politics
Rallies can play into wrong hands
The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal held rallies on Sunday. The theme of these events was to berate each other. There was also another rally at Bargari, in which the Khaira group of the Aam Aadmi Party took centre stage and condemned the other two parties for lack of action against those who had committed acts of sacrilege three years ago, as also those responsible for the police firing that resulted in the death of protesters. The issue is emotive, as the SAD found out when it lost the Assembly elections. The Congress government successfully instituted a judicial inquiry into the incidents and announced an SIT, and is waiting for the due process of law. But public perception seldom waits for procedural niceties, and there is a clamour for arrests from people at large.
The AAP rebel group appropriated a dharna, being held by Sikh activists and largely attended by common people, at Bargari, the site of the 2015 police firing. It showed dexterity in jumping on to the emotive bandwagon. Was it wise? Mixing religious sentiments with politics can be dangerous, more so in Punjab. Who can forget the bloodshed of the 1980s? Even as the Badal duopoly over the Shiromani Akali Dal is being challenged, the Congress seeks to fish in these troubled waters. This, too, is fraught with danger, as the Congress has earlier repeatedly burnt its hands when it tried to intervene in the religious bodies and affairs of the Sikhs. Instead, it should focus on finding ways to address the angst among the Sikhs and shake off the perception of inaction which is fuelling the Bargari protests. It must find means to speedily take to its logical conclusion the task it has embarked upon through the Ranjit Singh Commission and the SIT.
Rally politics is often about tribal/group loyalties where rhetoric is raised to a hysterical pitch, even as reason reels from the hyperbolic blows of speakers engaged in one-upmanship. Punjab needs to focus on governance and delivering the goods to the people. This is what the government and opposition parties should concentrate on.
Source: The Tribune