Days after journalist Barkha Dutt spectacularly failed in whitewashing the support of Deep Sidhu support for Khalistan and terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the founder of The Print, Shekhar Gupta picked up the mantle for salvaging the Punjabi actor’s discredited reputation.
Despite Sidhu’s persistent denial to condemn Bhindranwale as a terrorist during his interview with Barkha, The Print provided a platform to the Punjabi actor, glorifying him for his support for the ongoing ‘farmers’ protests and providing him with a fresh opportunity to redeem himself after his contentious stand on Khalistan.
The article titled “I am from a farmer’ family, not using these protests for stardom, actor Deep Sidhu says” published on The Print tried to paint Deep Sidhu as an honest and sincere individual, someone who is involved in the ongoing farmer protest, not for the sake of hogging the limelight and catapulting his otherwise underwhelming film career.
In the article, the Punjabi actor glibly claimed that he had a “deep sense of association with the land and people” which pushed him to join the farmers’ protest. To defend his claim, Sidhu cites that when he wanted to become an actor, he did not travel to Mumbai but came to Punjab and build his own production house.
Sidhu came out of obscurity after a video of him saying that the farmers’ protests will be the defining moment of the geopolitics of not just India but also entire South Asia had gone viral on the internet. However, the video invited a lot of flak on social media websites, with netizens pointing out that the protests are hacked by attention-seekers masquerading as farmers.
But, Sidhu cunningly deflected the allegations levelled against him and connected them to the modern stereotypes that exist in the society.
“See how ignorant modern society is. Diversity exists in our country and modern society should understand they don’t have the sole right over higher education and that only elites can go to college and university. A person from a farmers’ background can also go to those universities. Let’s not make ourselves prisoners of stereotypes,” The Print quoted Sidhu as saying.
Sidhu says Khalistan sentiments should not be raised during farmers’ protests; fails to condemn Khalistan
The actor feigned victimhood when confronted on his controversial stand on Khalistani terrorism. Speaking to The Print, Sidhu dishonestly claimed that he was “forced” to talk on the issue to clear misconceptions. Taking a cue from his previous interview which ended up being disastrous for both him and Barkha Dutt, Sidhu asserted that the protests had no place for Khalistani sentiments.
However, it is pertinent to note that even in his interview with The Print, Sidhu did not plainly deny his support for Khalistan. Nor did he condemn Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a terrorist who had occupied the Golden Temple with arms and ammunition. Instead, the Punjabi actor resorted to using ambiguous language to justify the references to Khalistan during the farmers’ protests by alleging that in Punjab there’s always a “parallel emotion” that gets built up during a protest.
“The ground reality is that in Punjab, whenever there’s a protest a parallel emotion gets built up as well. This is also due to the association with land. If you are not part of that culture it is difficult to understand. But, yes, it should not have been brought up in this farmers protest. At this protest we are only talking about a strong federal structure that also affects West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and other states as well,” Sidhu told in an interview to The Print.
What Sidhu alluded with his specious argument in the interview was that the sentiments in support of Khalistan were completely legitimate, only that their manifestation during the farmers’ protest was wrong. Earlier in his interview with Barkha, Sidhu had been unapologetic and unabashed about his support for Khalistan, which was evident in his stout denial to denounce Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a terrorist. This time around, Sidhu seems to be more circumspect was tacit in expressing his support for Khalistan in his interview with The Print.
Barkha Dutt had provided Deep Sidhu with a platform to ‘distance himself’ from OpIndia report that he supports Khalistan
As the ‘farmer’ protests continue to rage along the Punjab-Haryana border, controversial journalist and YouTuber Barkha Dutt had provided her platform to a known Khalistan sympathiser, actor Deep Sidhu, an allegedly aggrieved farmer who was seen in a viral video threatening the authorities that the ‘farmers’ protests will be the defining moment of the geopolitics of not just India but also entire South Asia.
In the interview broadcasted on Barkha Dutt’s YouTube channel ‘Mojo Story’, Sidhu made startling responses that left the host red-faced. Referring to OpIndia, Barkha Dutt confronted Sidhu on reports that claimed that the actor was a Khalistan supporter. However, the controversial journalist was disappointed when Sidhu, instead of plainly condemning Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, went on to hail him as the revolutionary who fought for a strong federal structure.
Even after Barkha expressed her staunch disapproval on Sidhu hailing Bhindranwale as a fighter, Sidhu did not budge from his stand, reiterating that a narrative was weaved by the then state government to portray Bhindranwale as a terrorist.
In fact, Barkha was so disappointed by Sidhu’s refusal to change his stance that she claimed disbelief on spending 2 minutes discussing whether Bhindranwale was a terrorist or not. Despite Barkha’s palpable irritation and her continued insistence, Sidhu persistently denied calling Bhindranwale a terrorist, and patronisingly told Barkha that she is unaware of the culture in Punjab and has formed her opinion from a studio in Delhi.