BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had a narrow escape after a few Sikh youths attacked his vehicle at Bhor Camp in Jammu on Thursday while he was addressing an election rally.
The vehicle was badly damaged and driver Parveen Singh who was injured has been hospitalised. It was the second attack on Sidhu in this Sikh-dominated constituency in five days.
Squarely blaming Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to have orchestrated the attacks on him, Sidhu said he was not afraid of them. “My driver has lost an eye as the broken glass damaged it. My personal security officer also received injuries. The attackers have been identified and they are not from Jammu. They are from Gurdaspur,” Sidhu said.
Sidhu was campaigning in the Bhor Camp area for the party candidate from Gandhi Nagar assembly segment, Kavinder Gupta, when unidentified people pelted his vehicle with stones and bricks. The BJP leader, however, escaped unhurt, a senior police officer said.
Sidhu had recently landed in a controversy for distorting the Gurbani while taking part in a religious function in Ludhiana about a month ago. He is accused of wrongly attributing the words of Gurbani by Guru Arjan Dev to Arjun of Mahabharata, which led to allegations of blasphemy.
Sidhu said the Badals were “insecure” and “jealous’ of his rising stature. “The SAD is a pious organisation being used as a personal property by the Badals. They cannot point a finger at me politically. Now they are taking the religion route to target me. I have addressed 50 rallies in J&K and did not make any statement that can be construed as blasphemy. The whole move is motivated to make a mountain out of a molehill.”
Meanwhile, former president of Jammu and Kashmir Gurdwara Management Board, Sudarshan Singh Wazir, said Sikhs in Jammu were anguished by Sidhu’s act of distorting the Gurbani. Wazir said Sikhs had demanded that the Akal Takht take action against him.
Sidhu, however, said the real reason for the attacks was his having exposed the misdeeds of the Badals in Amritsar. “Has anyone pelted those who grabbed lands and houses in Amritsar with stones? And what about those who have ruined generations of youth with drugs?” he asked.
BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta, however, said the assailants were supporters of the local Congress MLA who was frustrated with the possible poll outcome. “We condemn the attack. It is Congress’s and its MLA’s frustration due to the growing popularity of the BJP in not only this constituency but in the entire state,” he added.
However, Punjab Congress chief Partap Bajwa also apprehended that the Badals were behind the incident. In a statement, Bajwa said Sidhu was one of the most vocal critics of the Badals in the BJP and it was at their behest that he was denied ticket in the Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar.
SAD general secretary Daljit Singh Cheema, however, rubbished the allegations. “What Sidhu is saying is baseless. Instead of realising his mistake and accepting it, he is blaming others for what is happening. He should have sought an apology from Sikhs. Instead, he is politicising the issue,” Cheema said.
Meanwhile, the Jammu police have arrested two people in this conncetion. Sidhu later cancelled his rally at Bhor Camp and set out for campaigning at other places. According to reports, the youth, who were carrying black flags, raised slogans against Sidhu and criticised him for distorting the Gurbani. They asked him to leave Jammu.