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Sandeep Singh: Baaz Stands Firm As United Sikhs Emails Misleading Legal Demand Letter
Baaz was emailed a legal demand letter by United Sikhs on March 4 requesting us to remove the article “DSGMC and Farm Leaders Denounce United Sikhs Legal Aid Fundraising Claims And Campaign”
March 6, 2021 | 2 min. Read
Baaz and I received via email a legal demand letter from United Sikhs on March 4 requesting us to remove the article “DSGMC and Farm Leaders Denounce United Sikhs Legal Aid Fundraising Claims And Campaign”, which was published on March 1. It also requested that we remove all accompanying social media posts and that we provide a public apology.
In the email, United Sikhs (wrongfully) claim, as justification for their request, that “[Mr. Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Mr. Virinder Pal Singh Sandhu of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and Mr. Prem Singh Bhangu [Legal Cell Head for SKM]], who you claim are your sources, have denied your allegations”. United Sikhs did not provide any proof of this in their demand letter.
However, in order to verify, we shared United Sikhs’ claim with our quoted sources and they have reconfirmed to us that they stand by their original statements made to Baaz.
In fact, Bhangu was recently quoted on March 6, in a Times of India article, reiterating his position on United Sikhs’ misleading legal aid claims and accompanying fundraising campaign.
“We condemned and stopped the organisation from going ahead with it as the United Sikhs has nothing to do with legal aid to those arrested. The organisation never coordinated with the morcha on legal matters, though they are supporting in other ways, including organising a langar,”
Virinder Pal Singh Sandhu, of DSGMC’s Legal Cell, shared with us that he stands by earlier comments as well, in direct contradiction to claims made by Untied Sikhs in its demand letter to Baaz.
“As I told you earlier at least 105 farmers are out of jail on bail. 97 farmers got out with help of the DSGMC panel. The rest got bail with the help of independent advocates. Now [United Sikhs] will have to tell how many farmers they have got released.”
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, DSGMC President, also reconfirmed with Baaz that DSGMC has “nothing to do with any NGO and have not received any money from them. From day one we are working in cooperation with Farm Unions to get the farmers released.”
United Sikhs have repeatedly falsely claimed in their legal aid updates and fundraising campaign that they are working together and in conjunction with DSGMC and farmer unions.
Baaz has also now learned that United Sikhs have removed their original legal aid fundraising page from Facebook. They had at first amended the Facebook fundraising page after our March 1 story, clarifying that donations would actually not just go to legal aid support, but to non-legal areas such as “counseling services”, “rehabilitation”, and a letter-writing campaign to politicians. At last check, United Sikhs had raised approximately $40,000 USD on what were misleading claims.
Baaz continues to provide United Sikhs the opportunity to share answers to specific questions sent last week regarding what exactly the organization has done in terms of legal aid support, how they reply to allegations made by DSGMC and SKM, and how the money raised has been distributed to date.
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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