These were two distinct things for a majority of Indians till yesterday when a large section of protestors hoisted a flag on the ramparts of Lal Quila. Who were they?
They were the youth provoked by the man in the picture, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu. And who is he? He is the founder of the US-based organisation “Sikhs For Justice” promoted by ISI.
What happened yesterday can be understood from the happenings of the last two years. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was amended by the Indian Parliament on August 2, 2019. The amended Section 35 paved the way for banning individuals as well, unlike the earlier provision which only enabled the central government to ban organisations. On 1st July, 2020 the central government banned Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, the architect of the “Khalistan 2020 Referendum”. Immediately thereafter he had announced that his organisation SFJ would pay a reward of $ 1,25,000 (Rs. 1 crore approx.) to anyone who would hoist Khalistan Flag on the ramparts of Lal Quila on the coming Independence Day on 15th August, 2020. Obviously, the youth were allured by this offer. Resultantly some miscreants did a trial exercise on 14th August, 2020 by hoisting a flag in District Administration Complex, Moga (Punjab). This could not be possible in Lal Quila on account of the sanitisation thereof much prior to 15th August as the official function where the Prime Minister hoists national flag is held there only.
But Pannu kept his efforts alive. He saw his chance in the recent Farm Laws Protest after the government got enacted the recent farm laws in September, 2020. He is on record to have offered huge rewards to those who gherao Modi on 30th September, 2020 in Delhi during a protest.
Yesterday’s incident is indeed inspired by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s provocations and allurements. The miscreants had not only hoisted a flag on the ramparts of Lal Quila but also urinated here and there on the walls thereof as an act of desecration of the national monument and the pride of the nation. It is futile to argue whether it was Khalistan flag or not, as there are many proposed flags of Khalistan including this one while none has been finalised. I am also a liberal, perhaps more than some others, but certainly not a fool not to understand the message. The message was loud and clear. It is nothing but an open challenge to the nation’s pride and that too on Republic Day. Now it is the turn of the government to give a befitting response.
It is very heartening and satisfying to find many sagacious elements amongst the Sikh community also to have very unequivocally condemned yesterday’s flag hoisting event. India has the great potential of bouncing back! We need to draw a distinction between being anti-national and being merely anti-government!!