New Delhi: US-based radical group ‘Sikhs For Justice’, which was banned in India in 2018, released a video on YouTube Wednesday in support of environment activist Disha Ravi, actor Deep Sidhu, lawyer Nikita Jacob, and labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur.
All except Kaur — in jail for alleged violence during a protest at the Kundli Industrial Area last month — face different allegations in connection with the 26 January violence during the farmers’ agitation.
In the video, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the general counsel for the ‘Sikhs for Justice’ who is a designated terrorist in India, urges supporters of the farmers’ protest to shoot off emails to ambassadors of the US, the UK, and European Union countries like Germany, Italy, asking them to impose “sanctions on Indian PM Narendra Modi”.
He says this issue “needs to be escalated to international forums and platforms and the world needs to be told”.
In the three-minute video, Pannun says his message is to people who are protesting against the new farm laws, and Disha Ravi, Deep Sidhu, Nodeep Kaur, Nikita Jacob, “who have been charged under sedition”.
Ravi and Jacob are being investigated under a sedition case filed by Delhi Police in connection with a toolkit that police claim played a role in the 26 January violence, while Sidhu has been accused of rioting, assaulting public servants, attempt to murder, dacoity and criminal conspiracy during the violence.
Ravi and Sidhu are under arrest, but Jacob, a lawyer, got pre-arrest bail from the Bombay High Court Wednesday.
Nodeep, meanwhile, was arrested on 12 January by Haryana Police during a labour protest near the Singhu border, one of the farmers’ agitation sites.
Delhi Police, which are probing the ‘toolkit’ since it was tweeted by climate activist Greta Thunberg on 2 February, has taken note of the video.
“There is a connection between the ‘SFJ’ and the toolkit,” said a senior police officer, before adding that the ‘SFJ’ is also linked to the Poetic Justice Foundation, a Canada-based organisation under lens in the toolkit case.
“Moreover, the PJF and the ‘SFJ’, too, are linked. This video in support of activist Disha and lawyer Nikita by Pannun could be a clear message. We are looking into the matter,” the officer said.
Addressing the four people named in the video, Pannun says, “You all have been charged under sedition that is waging war against the country. You all have been supporting the farmers protest and that is your right.
“You owe your allegiance to Constitution of India, to the Indian Tricolour, still the fascist Modi regime has charged you with waging war against India. They are trampling your rights. Rights that have been granted by Universal Declaration of Human rights,” he added.
Pannun then announces a web portal — www.twitter4farmers.in — where he says all “farmers’ supporters” can log in to shoot emails to ambassadors of countries like the UK, the US, Canada, Germany and EU nations, in India.
“We are the ‘SFJ’, we believe liberation of Punjab from India occupation is the only solution. But that is not what I am talking about today,” he says.
“We have created a portal for you that is www.twitter4farmers.in. Go to the portal and shoot an email to the ambassadors of US, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy and EU sitting in Delhi. You raise your voice and urge them to sanction Modi, the way they did before,” he says.
Modi, he adds, is “using this Constitution unconstitutionally to suppress this freedom of speech and expression of Disha Ravi, Deep Sidhu, Nodeep Kaur, Nikita and all others who have been charged”.
“And the regime is using violence, a terror tool of sedition to suppress your voice. Now is the time you join hands and email foreign ambassadors in Delhi,” he added.
In a message to his “Punjabi brothers”, Pannun says in Punjabi that the only solution for Punjab and the kisan is “Khalistan”. “The only solution is ‘Kisan Hul Khalistan’,” he says.