Sikhs in India and Pakistan oppose the BJP’s Hindu nationalist government’s radical agenda.
Days after the BJP-led government in India’s Karnataka state outlawed the wearing of hijab in classrooms, a new controversy developed over Sikhs’ Kirpan (steel sword or dagger) during provincial assembly elections across the nation.
Police personnel reportedly blocked members of the Sikh minority group from accessing polling places because they were holding a Kirpan.
When Sikh youngsters were barred from voting while holding the Kirpan in the Jalalabad district of Indian Punjab, they engaged into a scuffle with police authorities.
Police stated that no one carrying a “sword” would be allowed inside a polling booth, however Sikh teenagers believed that the Kirpan was an integral part of their identity and that they could not separate it from their bodies.
In general, Sikhs in India are permitted to go anywhere in the nation with their Kirpan. “So why is the sword just prohibited for voting?” asked one irritated Sikh.
The minority population raised concern over how they would be regarded in other regions of India if they were unable to carry the Kirpan in Indian Punjab, which is a Sikh majority state.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Sikh organisations have denounced the plan, claiming that India’s extreme Hindus seek to exterminate all minorities.
Sardar Gopal Singh Chawla, a Sikh community member, said in a statement that Sikhs should not tolerate such a restriction and asked other minority communities, including Muslims and Christians, to join to combat the BJP-led Hindu national government’s radical policies.
Sikhs and Muslims have united in their opposition to politicians’ divisive policies as the northern Punjab state elects its provincial legislature today.
“Parties that promote hatred and division are not welcome here. Sikhs, Muslims, and others in Punjab vote for secular parties “The leading cleric of Punjab, Maulana Mohammad Usman Rehmani Ludhianvi, told Anadolu Agency.
“I feel the connection between Sikhs and Muslims in Punjab is similar to that of an older and younger brother. It will continue, and we have witnessed several instances of social peace “he stated
Unlike Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, where anti-Muslim vitriol has found a home in electoral campaigns, Punjab appears to be an outlier.
According to experts, the developing connection between Sikhs and Muslims has aided in keeping divisive forces at bay.
“Politicians are attempting to utilise religion in elections, but people aren’t buying it,” said Jaspal Kaur Kaang, a Chandigarh-based Sikh studies specialist who credits Punjab’s communal unity to Sikhism’s secular characteristics.
“The Sikh gurus instilled in the masses the notion of communal harmony. Punjab is a secular state that has shunned divisive and hate-filled politics. They have placed a greater emphasis on global brotherhood “she stated