Unions frown upon spiritual symbolism

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Tikri, December 15

After keeping politicians at bay, farm union leaders have now said they won’t allow their protest to become a religious platform.

With members of various religious organisations turning up in support of the farmers, union leaders today decided not to let anyone indulge in religious symbolism.

In one such move, Balbir Singh Rajewal, while conveying the decision of 32 farm bodies, asked Nihangs camping near barricades to move to some other place. “There is no war at present. Whenever there will be one, we will call you. It is a peaceful struggle,” he said, while asking the Nihangs not to practise martial arts at the protest site. Nihang leader Deep Singh Khalsa said they had come to support farmers. “The leaders because of their selfish interests want us to go back,” he alleged.

Rajewal’s statement was also criticised on social media. He later said his motive was not to hurt anybody’s sentiments.

The unions have decided that each organisation would deploy 50 volunteers to keep an eye on anyone trying to hijack their struggle. “We had three options. Either to allow this struggle to become a sarva dharma sammelan, one dharma sammelan or let it be farmers’ sammelan. We obviously chose the last option,” said Raminder Singh Patiala, state committee member of the Kirti Kisan Union.

A farmer leader, preferring anonymity, said even their own leaders had been asked refrain from using religious text in their speeches.

Similarly, youngsters have been asked to not use abusive language against BJP leaders and stop playing midnight DJs and vulgar songs. “It has been our tradition to protect dignity of women. How can we allow playing of derogatory songs?” said Patiala.

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