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BBC World Services contributor asks media to not brand a ‘law and order’ issue in Punjab as a separatist movement

He wrote, "A humble request to my colleagues in Delhi who are representing and anchoring media houses. For God's sake, please don't term the deterioration of the law and order situation in Punjab as a separatist movement."

On February 25, Ravinder Singh Robin, a freelance journalist who regularly contributes to BBC World Services, published a video on Twitter urging his colleagues in Delhi not to paint the situation in Punjab as a separatist movement. In the tweet, he wrote, “A humble request to my colleagues in Delhi who are representing and anchoring media houses. For God’s sake, please don’t term the deterioration of the law and order situation in Punjab as a separatist movement.”

He appeared to be speaking at a panel discussion online. While clarifying that his views were his own and not the company he represents, Singh said, “A vacuum has been created in Punjab in the last 5-7 years in terms of political leadership, religious leadership, and social services. The last two governments of the Aam Aadmi Party and Capt Amarinder Singh promised to end the drug menace in the state. Capt Amarinder Singh took an oath of the holy book and promised to end the menace in four months, but nothing happened in five years. The present government also promised the same.”

“You need to understand, as the DGP has said, there is resentment among youth. The whole of Punjab is not migrating to Canada and America. Maybe 5%-12% may go. The rest of them will live here. They do not have any work. They do not have skilled labour. There are many issues. Radical organisations and leaders like Amritpal Singh are filling that vacuum. More may pop up with time. But you cannot say that 50-100 people represent the three crore people of Punjab. Those who are sitting in Delhi have termed the deterioration of law and order as Khalistan. They pushed the whole of Punjab and Punjabis into the narrative. They should show the reality,” he added.

Punjab unrest raises concerns over Khalistan revivalism

While many supported his views on Twitter, others on social media highlighted the revivalism of Khalistani sentiments, especially in the wake of unrest witnessed in Punjab. Whatever happened in Anjala Police Station was not a mere law and order problem involving 50-100 men. It was a mob of hundreds of armed Sikhs who used Shri Guru Granth Sahib as a shield and attacked Police personnel with swords, batons, and other sharp weapons. There are videos showing them storming into the Police station and overpowering the police.

Furthermore, it was not a one-off event. Many reports of pro-Khalistan marches and discussions have been happening across the state. Amritpal Singh is gaining momentum in the state and calling for a separate country openly while the state political leadership claims everything is under control. Amritpal is accumulating his followers in the state, strikingly similar to how Bhindranwale gained popularity in the late 1980s. Singh dresses like Bhindranwale and walks with armed guards just like him.

Not to forget, hours after getting Toofan released from Police custody in Ajnala, Amritpal visited Golden Temple in Amritsar, and thousands of his followers visited the Gurudwara just to get a glimpse of their new “beloved” leader. On many occasions, Amritpal Singh has openly supported Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Sikhs For Justice’s Referendum 2020 that calls for a separate Khalistan. Furthermore, Amritpal Singh’s social media accounts were restricted in India recently. Home Minister Amit Shah also said in a statement that his ministry is keeping an eye on the actions of Singh and his followers, after which he issued a threat against HM Shah. In “merely” law and order situations, involved parties do not threaten the Union Home Minister.

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Searched termsBBC Khalistan
OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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