Facing flak from a section of the Sikh community for not attending the radicals’ Sarbat Khalsa, Sikh preachers are using social media for a “damage-control” exercise.
The preachers, including Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale and Panthpreet Singh, are also under fire for deferring the implementation of the resolution to gherao Akali ministers and MLAs, passed during the ‘bhog’ of two police firing victims at Bargari village in Faridkot district on October 25.
Dhadrianwale’s Facebook page is flooded with messages and video clips from Sikhs in India and abroad, expressing solidarity with preachers and refuting allegations of a secret pact between them and the Punjab government.
Dhadrianwale had on November 16 uploaded his video on his Facebook page, explaining his and other preachers’ reasons for not taking part in the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ and other issues, such as reducing the duration of daily protests against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and killing of two persons in police firing at Behbal Kalan village (Faridkot).
The video was uploaded after Hindustan Times had reported the same day that the preachers had deferred the call to gherao Akali ministers and MLAs from November 15 in case the state government failed to fulfil the demands raised during the October 25 ‘bhog’. The preachers, after a meeting held here that day, had said that they would plan the gherao in the presence of Dhadrianwale and Daler Singh, who had allegedly been put under house arrest.
The videos posted by Dhadrianwale’s followers on his Facebook page have been titled, ‘Sada pakh vi suno’ (hear our viewpoint too). In his own video, Dhadrianwale says that though he doesn’t deny the importance of protests to express the community’s anguish, the final solution to the current problems lies in electing upright people to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
The preachers, in a joint statement on Wednesday, had criticised the state government for falsely implicating radicals on sedition charges and alleged that the government was trying to curb the voices of dissent.
On his Facebook page, Panthpreet uploaded a video asking five questions from the Punjab government. Panthpreet has questioned the Shiromani Akali Dal’s rationale for terming organisers of the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ as radicals since the party had stood by such people in the past.