Sikhs of Nanded Allege Capricious Detentions and atrocities of Police
Dr. Narjeet Kaur
On the peaceful and pious day of Hola Mohalla (March 29), an unfortunate incident happened, the video of which has been viral since. The audio-visual shows a group of sword-wielding Sikhs breaking through police barriers at a Gurdwara gate, which had been set up to keep them off the road due to COVID. A few police officers were injured as a consequence.
Following the incident, the Nanded Police arrested tons of faceless Sikhs under charges of attempt to murder, and assault or criminal force to daunt public servants many of these Sikhs were arrested for vandalism when the Nishan Sahib was brought at the gate around 4.00 p.m.
What is Nishan Sahib
Nishan Sahib is a triangular saffron-color flag furling outside a gurdwara on a steel pole covered with a saffron cloth. The flag also has an insignia called Khanda in the middle, which includes two swords and a chakra.
Hola Mohalla (Hola) is a Sikh festival that comes a day after Holi. Unlike Holi, when people sprinkle the colored powder on each other, Hola Mohalla is an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills
Nanded is an important Sikh pilgrimage center as it is home to a sacred shrine, the Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchal Nagar Sahib. It was here that the 10th and last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), anointed the holy book Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism and spent the last 14 months of his life.
What followed the Incident
The incident set forth many investigative efforts to dig deeper into the crux of the matter. Jasdev Singh, the investigative journalist of The Sikh Lounge, left for Nanded on getting News of injustice. He is still there, reporting first-hand details of the cries of the family members who have suffered at the hands of the police atrocities.
As per his exposition, Police have since registered FIRs against over 400 identified or undisclosed Sikhs, in connection with this incident. Random police raids have been used to infuse terror among the Sikhs. There also are several incidents of police abuse reported to terrorize Sikhs of Nanded. Family members assert that many of those arrested weren’t even present at the site of the incident, and are being capriciously detained by the police.
“My husband was not even part of Holla Mohalla. When Police came to his brother’s house, he went to inquire about the issue. The police, on the pretext of signing some paper, took him away. Since then I have neither seen nor met him”, Manjot Kaur Grewal reported to a journalist investigating the unjust acts
Another victim states “My father was arrested in the middle of the night. As he went to the door to answer the knock, he was dragged away without any warrant or information”
Below is the footage of Manmeet Kaur's father being dragged away from his house.
Gurmeet Kaur, whose husband is on the run, has another story to tell. “The police came to our house and made a search. This search was conducted when there were only my children present in the house” she shared with a reporter. Clearly, this search violated all the said fundamentals and Human rights, since it instilled fear in the minds of the innocent kids ever. What an imprint of police activities these kids would carry forever! Who bothers!
Some more claimed that the police violated their privacy and religious feelings. They even violated and took away their pious historic shastars. This has caused substantial sorrow and antagonism as Sikhs in Nanded are unbelievably fervent. It's not that the cries of our fellow brothers have been left unheard. Jasdev Singh also reported that United Sikhs retained attorney Amanpal Singh and his team is working on the bails of individuals arrested and are in constant touch with the agonized families, to bring justice and solace to them.
Any system of law depends on the deployment of force. But its use must be consistent with the dignity of a person. Rule of law requires the presence of constraints on excesses. Excessive violence, for instance, torture in pursuit of information and confession, is illegal in most decent societies. Yet the Sikh devotees of Nandeed were victims of a surfeit of unwarranted violence. To mutilate a body is to demean and humiliate it. Excessive violence is meant to convey that the life of the victim is truly worthless.