Battle to begin with repeal of farm laws, says Mo Dhaliwal who created ‘toolkit'
- Poetic Justice Foundation founder Mo Dhaliwal has said that their final objective wasn't just the repeal of farm laws.
Mo Dhaliwal, the founder of the Vancouver-based Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) that created the controversial ‘toolkit’ tweeted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, is looking to use the farm protests in India to fuel the separatist Khalistani movement, according to a police officer probing attempts to fan the separatist movement under the garb of the farmers' agitation. This lingering suspicion, the officer suggested, was confirmed by a recent video clip of Mo Dhaliwal where he is seen mobilising support for the agitation, as well as the separatist movement.
“If the farm bills get repealed tomorrow, that is not a victory. This battle begins with the repeal of the farm bills, it does not end there. Let no one tell you that this battle is going to end with the repeal of the farm bills. That is because they are trying to drain energy from this movement. They are trying to tell you that you are separate from Punjab, and you are separate from the Khalistan movement. You are not,” Mo Dhaliwal says in this video clip, reportedly shot during the group’s protest outside the Indian consulate on 26 January.
HT cannot confirm the authenticity of this video. Dhaliwal asked for his reaction to the police charge against his group, initially agreed to an interview with HT but later said he will issue a statement instead.
The farm protests on the borders of national capital Delhi began on November 26 over three laws that aim to ease restrictions on trade in farm produce by setting up free markets. Farm unions, however, say they will erode their bargaining power, weaken a system of assured prices and make them vulnerable to exploitation by corporate giants. They have rejected an offer to suspend the operation of the laws for 18 months, insisting that the laws be repealed.
Mo Dhaliwal and his group, PJF, came into sharp focus this week after Swedish activist Greta Thunberg tweeted a document that detailed an action plan for online and offline protests linked to the ongoing farmers’ agitation that started in November end. The first document, complete with links to tweets that people could use on social media, was mostly focused on Republic Day celebrations in India on January 26 that the group intended to commemorate as a global day of protest. She deleted this document and later uploaded what a police officer described as an updated and sanitized version.
The Delhi Police on Thursday cited the first document, or toolkit, to file a criminal case alleging criminal conspiracy and sedition. It didn’t name any suspects.
The toolkit, the officer quoted above said, had to be seen in the context of the background and motivation of its creators. The video gives an insight into the objectives of the group that has been trying to build public opinion on social media against the Indian government.
“The farm protests for them is just an excuse to mobilise support for their separatist agenda,” he said.
Mo Dhaliwal’s video clip appeared to support this contention.
In this, Dhaliwal attempts to persuade the younger members of his audience at the protest to keep an open mind to the demand for Khalistan.
“The reason why the Khalistani people are so passionate about this (farm protests) is because 40-50 years later, we are seeing the truth that they predicted in the 1970s. In the 1970s, they wanted an independent land so that we wouldn't have to live through this movement. My request to all the young people is: Don't close your eyes to each other, don't close your heart to each other. Don’t close your minds to each other. If you see somebody with a sign that you don’t understand, that has this ‘bad word’, Khalistan, on it, ask questions, learn…understand... Nobody wanted to be a terrorist… They are trying to separate us from each other… We are here for the independence and sanctity of Punjab,” Dhaliwal is heard saying in the video.
Dhaliwal isn’t the only one.
Counter-terror officials, who have been talking about intelligence reports of separatist elements infiltrating the farm protests for weeks, said other pro-Khalistani individuals and groups had been active at various levels too.
The Delhi Police had earlier declared that they had already identified at least 300 handles from Pakistan that were trying to mobilise protesters at the Delhi borders with the hashtag -- Support Khalistan.