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CHANDIGARH, Punjab—Hindu right-wing political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is repeating Congress’ history of harassing Sikhs in Haryana by debarring them from passing through this state to stage a protest at New Delhi against contentious farm laws introduced by Central Government led by the saffron party on November 26 and 27. Under their program of ‘Dilli Chalo’, the Punjab farmers most of whom are Sikhs are gearing up to march toward Delhi to stage a protest to press the Central government to revoke the laws being considered as destructive for farmers and many other sections of the society.
In view of the farmers’ protest march Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said the state borders with Punjab will remain sealed on November 26 and 27. The step has been taken to thwart their attempt to corner BJP government in the national capital of India as this their program is supposed to draw international attention toward their concerns there. Meanwhile, the Haryana Police issued an advisory for the public, asking them to modify their travel plans. Khattar said they have advised people to avoid traveling along the state borders with Punjab for the two days as these will remain sealed.
This move of Khattar-led BJP government has not only angered the farming community of Punjab but also reminded it of Bhajan Lal-led Congress government that used similar tactics in 1982 when the Sikhs during Dharam Yudh Morcha announced to demonstrate at the venue of the Asian games at Delhi to draw international attention to their plight.
“This gave an opportunity to Bhajan Lal, the then chief minister of Haryana to pursue his anti-Sikh policies. He decided to do so in a spectacular fashion. Since the road to Delhi runs through Haryana, he posted the Haryana police all along with highway and assigned to them the task of insulting and harassing every Sikh man, woman and child who travelled to Delhi in the normal course of routine business. Buses and cars were stopped on the road, all Sikhs inside were asked to step aside, where obtrusively searched, freely insulted, abused and assaulted in every way”, Gurtej Singh, IAS, narrates in his book entitled ‘Web of Indian Secularism: Chakravyuh’. “Amarjit Kaur who was a member of parliament belonging to the Indira Congress was in tears where she reported the matter to her colleagues. The same treatment was meted out to the Maharani of Patiala and her son Amarinder Singh. Several army men in uniform and even retired generals were likewise treated”, he writes further in the chapter entitled “Blood of Other Nations: Flows Freely in World’s Largest Democracy”. He also gives a detailed account of the petitions filed by renowned Sikhs who were stopped and humiliated by Haryana Police on their way, in Supreme Court of India against the treatment. Then, Bhajan Lal government could not seal the borders of Haryana for Punjab’s people, but Khattar government has dared to do so. “The move of Manohar Lal Khattar is quite condemnable. Punjab and Haryana both have equal statues in the country. Haryana government doesn’t have right to stop movement of people of Punjab. Haryana is not alone who owns national highway”, said Satnam Singh Manak, renowned journalist of Punjab. Notably, the BJP is using these tactics citing that Covid-19 cases are on rise once again in Delhi and no gathering could be allowed there. Reacting to the logic given by the BJP government, Manak said, “If by-polls can be conducted in Haryana, assembly polls are held in Bihar and BJP can celebrate its victory in Bihar elections at its head office in Delhi despite prevalence of the Covid-19 outbreak, why cannot Punjab farmers go to Delhi to demonstrate to protect their rights”. After a large number of farmers from Punjab, who are heading for indefinite ‘siege’ of Delhi from November 26 over their demand to revoke the Central farm laws, were not allowed to enter Haryana owing to travel restrictions there, farmers’ bodies today threatened to block the highways. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) President Balbir Singh Rajewal said Khattar has sealed borders for Punjab farmers to prove that “Punjab is not part of India”. “We will peacefully block the routes to Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir. Will start dharna on the roads,” he tweeted. He questioned Khattar for refusing to give passage to the farmers to go to the national capital. “Can’t the high court take suo moto notice to give justice to the peaceful farmers,” he asked.

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