Punjabi singers and actors are making a beeline to meet former militant Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa (48), who has been on a fast-unto-death at Gurdwara Amb Sahib, Mohali, since November 14, demanding the release of six former militants.
Popular singer-actor Gurdas Maan first came to meet Khalsa, followed by Gurpreet Ghuggi, Pammi Bai, Gippy Grewal, Sherry Mann, Babbu Mann and Bhagwant Mann. Singers Manmohan Waris, Kamal Heer and singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh met the ex-militant on Friday.
Interestingly, most of these stars have posted their photos with Khalsa on social networking sites. With the Punjabi diaspora, especially Sikhs settled in Canada, US, England, Australia and New Zealand, closely following the issue, Punjabi singers and actors are apparently keen to attract attention in foreign countries through the media.
"They (singers and actors) are more popular in foreign countries than in Punjab. Meeting Khalsa gives them the opportunity to strengthen their bond with audiences abroad," US citizen Parvinder Singh told HT on the telephone from San Francisco.
Comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi claimed that he met Khalsa to show solidarity on the issue of human rights and stand by a person who has chosen to suffer for others. "I am not concerned about my foreign audience. Why can't foreigners come to meet Khalsa? If they are so concerned, they should come to Punjab and sit with Khalsa," said Ghuggi.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Hardeep Singh said, "Everyone is connected with the issue, which is a good thing for the Sikh community and also for Punjab, which suffered two decades of terrorism."
Sukhwant Singh Baidwan, an advocate based in Toronto, said Punjabi singers and actors were grabbing eyeballs by supporting Khalsa's cause.
"I went to meet Khalsa without any personal motive. Not as a Sikh but as a human being," said folk singer Pammi Bai.