After stalling his tour to Canada, North America-based activist group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has now uploaded a video and issued statements claiming that shoes were hurled at Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh during his programme at Fresno in California. The video, which was duly “circulated” by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to the media and its workers on WhatsApp, showed some Sikh radicals shouting slogans against Amarinder while he was leaving the venue of the programme.
Though no shoe-hurling is visible in the video, SFJ legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, in a statement, claimed that Amarinder’s supporters attacked one Mohender Singh, a 1984 Sikh riots’ survivor whose father was killed by infamous “Kishori”, when he wanted to question Amarinder on his statement that Congress leader Jagdish Tytler had no role in killing of Sikhs in Delhi.
“It led to a clash between organisers of the event and Sikh separatists at the conference venue. As Amarinder was about to leave the venue under tight security, Sikh separatists started raising Khalistan slogans and hurled shoes at fleeing Amarinder’s vehicle,” Pannun’s statement said.
But Amarinder denied the allegations as “factually incorrect and absolutely misleading rumours”. Speaking to HT from Fresno, he said no one asked him any questions on Tytler or the 1984 riots during the programme. “Over 1,000 people were present at the Fresno programme and it was a cordial interaction. There was no question on the 1984 riots or Tytler. These are absolute lies.”
“Under American law, no one can enter private property uninvited. So these few separatists have been standing outside my meetings at Chicago, California, Los Angeles and Fresno holding banners and shouting slogans and nobody cares about them. But no one hurled shoes. It is clear who is spreading and gaining from this false propaganda. If they (SFJ and AAP) have the guts, they should come inside the venue and ask questions. They can stand outside and shout slogans and claim anything they want to. The AAP has mixed up with Khalistanis,” Amarinder said.
Terming the response of Punjabi NRIs in America as “more than expected”, Amarinder said every meeting was a full house. “Punjabis here do not know what’s going on in Punjab. I had to interact with them to give them a clear picture. The motives of those spreading such rumours are quite obvious as they were not comfortable with the overwhelming response I am getting from the community. Hence they are spreading these rumours since their purpose of disrupting the meetings got defeated,” he said.