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Afraid of Pinning Down Government Media Accuses Minorities of Corona Spread

May 2, 2020 | By

Chandigarh: In a joint statement Sikh intellectuals, activists, journalists and lawyers today protested that instead of holding the Modi government guilty for a sudden lockdown that trapped unaware crores of migrant labor and other people at several places, the pro-Hindutva media outlets that earlier targeted Tabligh Jamaat and now accused the Sikh pilgrims of the spread of coronavirus in Punjab.

The joint statement endorsed by Gurtej Singh IAS, Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Advocate Rajwinder Singh Bains, Dr. Kuldip Singh Patiala, Gurpreet Singh (Global Sikh Organisation), Jaswinder Singh Rajpura, Bhai Narain Singh, Grubachan Singh (Editor of Des Punjab), Prof Manjit Singh, and senior journalists- Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Karamjit Singh, and Sukhdev Singh Sidhu reads:

“Criminally exploiting the pandemic situation that generally takes a toll upon rational thinking of the majority, the fly-by-night media, earlier, launched a politically-inspired vilification campaign against Muslims using terrorism-related terminology like ‘Tablighi Jihaad’. Now the Sikh pilgrims are being made the scapegoat for the original sin of the Modi government that administered a shock to the Indians by abruptly locking them down which put to untold miseries the Talbighis, Sikh pilgrims, migrant labor and various other sections of the society.”

“In the beginning, NRI Baldev Singh was blamed and shamed for allegedly hiding and bringing COVID 19 to Punjab which turned out totally untrue. On the other hand, a private hospital in Jalandhar that deliberately misled Baldev Singh at the cost of his life was not hauled up the authorities”, the statement reads further.

Akal Takht Acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh already condemned the media that had communally blown up the Sikh pilgrim issue.

“There was a frenzy to vilify the entire Muslim community by citing the case of Tablighi Jamaat, now there is a campaign to present Huzur Sahib as an epicenter of Coronavirus to malign the Sikh community. This is a conspiracy,” the Jathedar said.

The joint statement by Sikh intellectuals says: “[t]he Central government should have done before clamping lockdown on March 24, what it is doing now asking the state governments to arrange transport for the trapped people to take them to their homes. Such a step taken in March would have avoided physical and mental agony the crores of people suffered in 45 days. Like other state authorities, the Punjab government too extended logistic support to Sikh pilgrims for bringing them home. They were checked negative thrice by the Nanded authorities before they left for Punjab. Whether some of them got infected on the way or tests conducted on them in Punjab are not authentic—is still a mystery”.

“The Punjab authorities are now out to torture the infected Sikh pilgrims physically and mentally as a large number of them have been sent to Dera Radha Suami headquarters for quarantine while the SGPC having sufficient accommodation in Durbar Sahib complex had offered separate room each of them. The Dera activities are not only antithetical to the Sikh pilgrims’ faith but also they are being given third rate treatment there”, reads the statement.

The signatories to the statement have appealed to the government should investigate, unravel that mystery, and also shift the infected pilgrims to the SGPC’s residential areas.

“We also condemn the media section that plays out the BJP political game and vilifies the minorities skirting its journalistic/ethical duty of exposing the real cause behind the people’s troubles” said they.

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