Friday, February 26, 2021

Actor Deep Sidhu blamed for violence

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  • Farm leaders alleged Sidhu — who earlier publicly aired his differences with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha — tried to defame the farmers’ stir.

Senior farm leaders and politicians on Tuesday evening blamed 36-year-old Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu for inciting violence during the Republic Day tractor rally in Delhi.

Sidhu was summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) two weeks ago in connection with a sedition case against US-based banned pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs For Justice.

Farm leaders alleged Sidhu — who earlier publicly aired his differences with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha — tried to defame the farmers’ stir. “We condemn this act of Deep Sidhu in strong words and we think that he was working as a government agent. We didn’t have any plans to go to Red Fort but he did not follow our guidelines and even misled some youth,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni.

Other leaders said Sidhu attempted to wrest back the limelight after being sidelined by farm unions. “He [Sidhu] posted a video claiming responsibility and justifying the act. Those who hoisted the flag at Red Fort were allowed a free passage as part of a conspiracy,” said BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan.

The controversy began with a Facebook video posted from the actor’s account around 2pm in which Sidhu could be seen along with his supporters at the Red Fort. Many of them held the Nishan Sahib, the flag of the Sikhs, and a young man could be seen climbing a flagstaff in the background, with the ‘kesari’ flag in hand.

“He is the front face of Khalistan and the role he played on Republic day has made it clear,” said Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress parliamentarian from Ludhiana.

Sidhu posted another video on Facebook at 5.40pm, where he admitted to hoisting the Nishan Sahib flag but said that he had done nothing wrong.

But farm leaders were not convinced. “Deep Sidhu, who was the election agent of Bharatiya Janta Party candidate Sunny Deol and whose picture with Narendra Modi went viral on social media, led the charge at Red Fort [on Tuesday], according to TV visuals. This clearly points to an element of sabotage,” said Hannan Mollah, the leader of All India Kisan Sabha and a member of Samyukt Kisan Morcha.

In 2019, Sidhu campaigned for BJP candidate Sunny Deol, who went on to win the Gurdaspur constituency. He was very close to Deol’s family, but later, Deol dissociated himself from Sidhu.

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