On Saturday 5th December, the Panjab Police shot and killed Sikhs protesting in Ludhiana against a rally organized by supporters of Ashutosh Noormehlia of the Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan.
Who is Ashutosh Noormehlia?
Ashutosh Noormehlia is a man from Bihar who was brought to Panjab by agencies to create a cult (Diviya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan) to attack the Sikh religion. The cult-leader Ashutosh openly claims that Sikhs should not follow Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee and instead accept him as the Guru because he says that the 'Jyot' (light) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee is within him and he claims that he is the reincarnation of Guru Gobind Singh jee as well. In his dera he keeps saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee that they treat and keep like a book which they keep on the shelf. He quotes and misinterprets Gurbani on a daily basis at his programmes. Ashutosh preaches against and insults keeping Kesh, wearing the 5 Ks, reading Gurbani, following the Shabad Guru, and going to the Gurdwara etc. The cultists claim that they are the 'true Khalsa' and oppose Amritdharis.
Video of Ashutosh Cultist preaching against Sikhi
They hold regular diwans at the heart of Sikh cities like Taran Taaran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur. Many times, events of 1978 have been repeated where the police was used for protection and attacking and killing the peaceful Sikh protestors. On one occasion, a programme was held on 19th April 2002 at which a preacher of Ashutosh, Shardha Nand, grossly insulted Sikhi and Guru Granth Sahib jee (see video above). When Sikhs showed up to protest they were attacked and fired upon. Shardha Nana escaped in government vehicles and Sikhs were arrested for causing violence. Similar events have taken place in other cities but with the help of the government Noormehls always managed to escape and Sikhs became the target of violence and police brutality.
Read more about Ashutosh here.
Read more about Ashutosh here.
The events leading up to Saturday
After the events of 2002, the then government led by Capt. Amrinder Singh (Congress) banned Ashutosh from doing any form of preaching outside of his dera as it was a risk to law and order and it would hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. However, the Badal government (the Akalis) lifted the ban and allowed Ashutosh to do programmes throughout Panjab. It should be noted that whenever anti-Sikh cults have risen in Panjab to attack the Sikhs it has always been during the Akali-BJP governments (e.g. 1978 massacre, 1984 Operation Bluestar, Bhaniaare wala, and Jhoota Saudaa).
Ashutosh had planned a Shobha Yatra (mockery and copy of Sikh's Nagar Kirtan) in Ludhiana on 5th December, in which he was to sit in a Palki and roam around Ludhiana. But Panthic Jathebandis had protested against it, and due to pressure from all sides, the Badal's government refused permission for the parade. Despite the cancellation of the Shobha Yatra, Ashutosh was adamant to hold a programme to show his power, as he knows that 40% residents of Ludhiana today are from UP and Bihar. He wanted to directly challenge the Sikh panth.
One day before on 4th December, 12,000 Bihari workers rioted across Ludhiana and burnt down Sikh buses, trucks, cars and motorcycles in protest against another issue which was related to them being treated poorly by the police when they reported that they were being their money was being looted by robbers on paydays. Although the issues are different, it is hard to ignore that both events have links. When 12,000 Biharis targetted Sikh buses (Sachkhand and Akal Takht Express buses) and Sikh property no one was fired at! However, oney day later when 500 to 600 Singhs peacefully protest they are fired with bullets by the Police.
On Friday 4th December the Sikhs were reassured by the government officials that Ashutosh's programmes were cancelled however fearing that it could be a bluff they decided to carry out a peaceful protest to the intended programme venue on 5th December. The Sikh Sangat gathered at Gurudwara Kalgidhar in Ludhiana where the Singhs did Ardaas in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee for blessings and then they began to walk.
LUDHIANA MASSACRE - DECEMBER 5th 2009
The police set up a barricaded check post at Samrala Chowk, about 1 kilometer from the dera rally, and without warning fired upon the protesting Sikhs as they approached the check point. The police used tear gas and live ammunition on the protesting Sikhs. Varying reports are saying that 4 to 6 Gursikhs have been killed and 11 others were seriously injured by the indiscriminate police firing. The injured include Bhai Kanwalpreet Singh, Bhai Anup Singh, Bhai Manjinder Singh, Bhai Sukhwinder Singh, Bhai Parminder Singh, Bhai Gurpreet Singh, Bhai Gurjant Singh, Bhai Jaswinder Singh, Bhai Amarjeet Singh, Bibi Surinder Kaur and Bhai Mangal Singh.
58-year old Bhai Darshan Singh jee becomes the first Shaheed of this Saakaa (massacre). Bhai Sahib was a simple Gursikh who drove a Rikshaa for his livelihood. He was driving his Rikshaa when he saw the Gursikhs protesting. Finding out about the protest Bhai Sahib left his Rikshaa and joined the protest at the front. He has left 2 sons and 1 daughter.
Elderly Singh becomes Shaheed after Police open fire on Gursikhs.
Gursikh left bleeding and his turban removed.
Sikh youngster lying on the ground seriously injured.
Bhai Sahib jee shot in the stomach by the Police.
Bhai Sahib was repeatedly beaten on the head by the Police despite laying on the floor injured.
Panjab Police brutality
Blood on their Hands!
Panthic organizations state that Harish Bedi, the local BJP MLA leader, and his son Honey Bedi are directly responsible for organizing the cult rally with the blessings of the ruling Akali government. Both had been actively preparing for the event for several days. Witnesses attest that Honey Bedi was present at the protest site, and shot a firearm in the direction of the protesters. The organizations have requested that along with cult leader Aushutosh, Parkash Badal, Harish Bedi and his son should to be held responsible for the bloodshed in Ludhiana.
The Gursikh leaders decided that they would get the Sangat to hold back from fighting the Police as they felt it was a trip to get maximum number of Sikhs get killed. Instead the decision was made by the Singhs to sit down and peacefully protest and stay clear from the trap. All the Singhs continued the protested throughout the night and on to the next day. In the cold night of December with no extra clothes or blankets, Gursikhs sat in the roads to peacefully protest. As there was a complete shutdown in Ludhiana, I assume that Langar was not allowed to be brought to the places where Gursikhs were protesting throughout the day and night. Baba Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale jee has taken the lead and are visiting hospitals to tend to the injured Singhs and preparing for the funerals of the Shaheeds tommorow in Ludhiana.