Sufi songs in Punjab potboiler

Son of one of the assassins of Indira Gandhi also enters Faridkot fray as an Independent
Sufi songs in Punjab potboiler

CHANDIGARH : The son of one of the assassins of former prime minister Indira Gandhi will contest the Lok Sabha polls from Faridkot seat in Punjab as an independent candidate.

The 45-year-old Sarabjit Singh is the son of Beant Singh, who along with Satwant Singh assassinated Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 at her residence in New Delhi. Beant and Satwant were the then prime minister’s bodyguards. Both fired over 30 bullets at her from point-blank range purportedly to avenge the humiliation of Sikhs and the desecration of the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star in June 1984.

Justice Jora Singh (retd), who had headed a commission to probe sacrilege incidents in Punjab, has also announced to contest an independent from Faridkot. The other candidates include singers and comedians — Karamjit Anmol, a Punjab actor-cum-comedian, is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, while Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans is the BJP candidate. The Congress is likely to give ticket from this seat to its incumbent MP Mohammad Sadique, according to party sources.

Sadique is a Punjabi folk singer. Sarabjit Singh had unsuccessfully contested the 2004 Lok Sabha polls from Bathinda getting 1.33 lakh votes. He contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Fatehgarh Sahib on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket and got on 12,683 votes and 2007 Punjab assembly polls from Bhadaur seat in Barnala and bagged 15,702 votes. His mother Bimal Kaur was elected as an MP from Ropar seat and grandfather Sucha Singh had won from Bathinda in 1989.

Singh said he has decided to contest elections because many villagers urged him and he intends to seek punishment for those responsible for the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

“Successive governments have failed to deliver justice in the sacrilege incidents and there is rampant drug problem. Also farmers’ issues remain unaddressed. So the people of Faridkot approached me and I decided to contest this poll,” Singh told this newspaper. “If I win, I will form my own party,’’ he added. Asked what prompted him to enter the poll fray again when he had contested three elections in the past, Singh said, “That time SAD were strong and dominant, thus I lost. Now people are fed up with all political parties. They voted for a change and brought in the AAP government but nothing has changed. Hence it’s anyone’s game now as the field is open.”’

Justice Jora Singh (retd) had headed a commission under the SAD-BJP government to probe the sacrilege incidents in Punjab. He joined the AAP in December 2018 and was the party candidate from Jalandhar in the 2019 parliamentary polls but lost.

He was head of the legal wing of AAP for two years. After that he quit the AAP and is now fighting an independent candidate from Faridkot.

“The report made by me on sacrilege incidents should be made public so that the culprits do not go scot free. The previous SAD-BJP and Congress governments sat on the report and so did the present AAP government,” Justice Zora Singh told this newspaper. “The top leadership of AAP did not find time to address the grievances of the legal fraternity,’’ he added.

In 2015, five sacrilege incidents took pace in Faridkot that sparked off statewide protests. The sacrilege incidents started on June 1, 2015 when the ‘bir’ (a complete volume of a Sikh scripture as an individual corpus) was stolen from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village gurdwara. Later three derogatory posters threatening sacrilege were pasted at Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala villages on September 24 and 25, 2015. On October 12, 2015, torn pages of the ‘bir’ were found scattered in front of a gurdwara in the adjoining Bargari village.

The desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and police firing at anti-sacrilege protesters at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan occurred in 2015 in Faridkot. Two people were killed in the police firing. The issue was also a major setback for SAD, leading to its downfall in the 2017 Assembly polls that brought the Congress to power.

Thirteen Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab will go to polls on June 1.

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