Amaan Bali: Parwana’s Arrest Raises Questions On Congress and Punjab Police's Actions
Police presented a video of Parwana tearing down an offensive “Terrorism Khaatma Divas” poster on June 6 and argued that the video disturbs communal harmony in Punjab
July 15, 2021 | 3 min. Read | Original Reporting
Bhai Barjinder Singh Parwana is the head of Damdami Taksal Rajpura. He is a preacher and an activist who has fought injustices against Sikhs - including being very vocally opposed to the draconian UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) as well as seeking justice for victims of 1984.
He has also been constantly raising questions about sacrilege incidents in Punjab and as such is well known in Panthic circles.
Parwana was arrested in a very dramatic manner from Mohali Sector 68 when he was sitting in his car with his driver Jaspreet Singh and another individual, Davinder Singh.
The three men were arrested by a team of Mohali police, after a complaint was reportedly lodged by Shiv Sena leader, Sudhir Suri, according to Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
Immediately after his arrest in Mohali, his home at Rajpura was raided by officials. The police raid continued for about four to five hours. As per the lawyers of Parwana, the laptops of his children have been seized as well. The raid left a traumatic effect on his family because the police did not explain the purpose nor revealed his whereabouts to the family.
Parwana was kept in Balongi police station but police kept denying that he was there. Police maintained that an FIR has been registered against him under sections 153, 505, and 120.
Parwana was presented in Kharar court on July 10 where police demanded five-day custody citing that it wants to take Parwana to the Rajasthan-Pakistan border and other places to ask questions and establish some links. Police presented recovered items as evidence and grounds for this request. The items being five ATM cards, a cheque book, and three licensed weapons.
No information was released about Davinder Singh on July 10. However, the driver Jaspreet Singh was released on the same day. He maintains that he knows nothing and that he was not dealt with harshly by the police. Parwana meanwhile has said that police have forced him to sign some documents.
On June 14 Parwana was presented in the court again. The government counsel argued that Parwana be kept in police custody as links are still to be established. The counsel argued that the case against Parana is based on three main points.
First, the police presented a video of Parwana tearing down an offensive “Terrorism Khaatma Divas” poster on June 6 and argued that the video disturbs communal harmony in Punjab. It is noteworthy that posters were put out by Shiv Sena Punjab to instigate Sikhs on the anniversary of the day when the Darbar Sahib Complex was stormed and bombed by the Government of India, kicking off what is widely recognized as the 1984 Sikh Genocide.
Secondly, police argue that Parwana was instigating the public during the Gurdaspur beadbi case. Parwana’s Facebook account called for justice for the incident and had accused the police of shifting the entire blame on Sikhs for the killing of an army man who was accused of beadbi. He had called the allegations of the army man’s lynching as false and an effort by Punjab police to register false cases against Sikhs.
Thirdly, the police shared that Parwana will be taken to the borders of Pakistan along Rajasthan and Punjab to identify locations and some people. However, to this last point, Parwana’s lawyers argued that police had not taken Parwana to any locations in the five days of custody that it already has had.
After hearing the arguments the court has decided to extend police custody by two more days. Parwana legal team is confident that he will be out very soon. The team also stressed that they will be pressing a writ petition against the officials for harassing a citizen who stands for Sikhs.
While the rumour mills and Indian right-wing actors such as OpIndia have attempted to vilify Sikhs over this arrest, DSGMC president Sirsa called out the ruling Congress government of Punjab and assured full legal support to Parwana. Many Sikhs continue to linger in Punjab’s jails, without any trial or evidence, due to the UAPA.
Amaan Bali is born and raised in Kashmir. He is an entrepreneur and author of the upcoming book, “Growing up on the right side of Kashmir History”. You can find him on Twitter at @amaanbali.
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