Sandeep Singh: Nanded Sikhs Continue To Allegedly Face Police Abuse One Month After Holla Mohalla
Locals continue to allege that state authorities are taking a heavy-handed and indiscriminate approach in punishing the Sikhs of Nanded
May 7, 2021 | 2.5 min. read
More than a month after the Holla Mahalla incident in Nanded, innocent Sikhs are still allegedly being abused and harassed by police as many languish in jail on what families insist are false charges.
Holla Mahalla is famous for the traditional Halla Bol procession, in which Sikhs display their martial skills with shastars on a run down a road outside the Gurdwara. In a viral video, a group of Sikhs is seen breaking through police barriers at a Gurdwara gate on March 29, which had been set up to keep them off the road due to COVID restrictions. Some officers were injured as a result.
Locals continue to allege that state authorities are taking a heavy-handed and indiscriminate approach in punishing the Sikhs of Nanded.
Harmandir Kaur shares that her husband and son were arrested in connection to the Holla Mahalla incident at least an hour and a half before it even happened.
“A day before Holla Mohalla, my husband Harbhajan Singh was watching live Gurbani from Gurudwara Sahib on TV outside our home. Police told him to go inside the house, and then my son Vikramjeet Singh intervened and told them that his father was watching only Gurbani. Police told him that he was arguing and tried to take him to the police station,” Harminder Kaur continues, “The next day on March 29 my son was going to Gurudwara Sahib and police tried to take him with them. Then my husband intervened and the police took both of them to the police station.”
Harmandir Kaur pleaded to the police for their release and was promised they would be. Instead, they have been charged on questionable grounds. The situation is especially dire as both her husband and son oversaw the family business, which was already hurting due to local COVID-19 lockdowns.
Jaspal Singh is facing a similar situation. His son was arrested on what Jaspal Singh explains are false grounds.
“My sons Taranjeet and Manjinder Singh had taken Nishan Sahib seva. My whole family was with them. We were inside the Gurdwara Sahib and not aware of what was going outside the Gurdawa. After Halla, all of us came home. That is when they took my son Manjinder Singh to the police station.”
Harbans Kaur’s ordeal follows a similar pattern. She claims her husband Kashmir Singh was not even at Holla Mohalla but was arrested in connection to violence at the site. The police are also looking for her two sons, who were present at the event. She is worried as she does not know about their whereabouts.
“Five or six policemen came to our home and started asking for my sons Surinderpal and Rajpal Singh. They even took our traditional shastras from home.”
Charanjeet Kaur’s brother, who is a pathi at Hazur Sahib, was also picked up by the police.
“Kamaljit Singh has been a pathi at Akal Takht Hazur Sahib for the last 30-40 years. He was with Babas and had come home after Holla Mahalla. If he had done anything wrong, why would he come back home? The police came and took him. Some people committed a crime by attacking the police and now the police are committing a crime by beating innocents. What is the difference between people who attacked the police and those who are being beaten by the police?”
Sandeep Singh hails from Machhiwara, Punjab. As an independent journalist, he has worked with many prominent Indian news organizations. Sandeep has been following the farmer’s protest in Punjab since its onset and traveled with them to Delhi. He spends most of his time at the Singhu border protest site. You can follow Sandeep on Twitter @Punyaab
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