Trafalgar Square in central London was the centre stage for both anti and pro India activities on Sunday the 12th of August, 2018. Members of the United States of America based group Sikhs for Justice had organised a rally which was attended by hundreds of pro-Khalistan demonstrators. Chanting “Bole so Nihal Sat Sri Akal” and “Khalistan Zindabad” the pro-Khalistan demonstrators waved flags and wore T-shirts in support of a referendum. Giving them the befitting response were hundreds of Indian Sikhs and Hindus who had combined together at a very short notice to show the stance of India and Indian Sikhs on the issue of separation. Their placards “Sikhs for a United India” and “We stand for one united strong India” echoed the sentiments of Indian community. While the Indian government had first tried to persuade the authorities in London not to allow the pro-Khalistan factions to hold a protest, their refusal to do so had driven the pro-India group to hold a protest rally of their own. The most disappointing reaction however on Sunday came from our mainstream media houses in the country.
— Shefali Vaidya (@ShefVaidya) August 13, 2018
The channels which chose to maintain a stoic silence on the pro-Khalistan rally, quickly jumped at the opportunity to brand the pro-India rally as an ensemble of “Modi supporters”. The reality could not have been far from different as the pro-India group had a diverse assortment of people, Hindus and Sikhs and people across state lines. Yes, Kuldeep Shekhawat, president of the Overseas Friends of BJP (United Kingdom) did attend the counter rally, but he did not head the rally. The mainstream media houses however, refused to stress upon the fact that one of the prime movers and speakers at the pro-Khalistan faction was Pakistani origin Lord Nazir Ahmed, a known racist who was suspended from the Labour Party for his hatred against the Jews. His involvement in the anti-India protests held outside the Indian High Commission earlier this year on India’s Republic Day too was not highlighted by the media houses. It will perhaps take years for media houses to understand that being pro-India does not make anyone a Modi supporter, this is the exact opposite of “anti-Modi does not mean anti-national” card they have used heavily in the past.
Authorities in the U.K. have maintained that they were willing to let both groups protest peacefully. It is public knowledge that Pakistan has supported and instigated the feelings of separation in Punjab ever since the partition, while the movement might have died an early death in India, it is using the Islamist extremist forces operative in England and other countries to boost the pro-Khalistan and anti-India supporters. The media houses should have chosen to focus on the backgrounds of the people who supported the Khalistan movements and their connections would have made everything clear but they instead chose to make it an anti/pro Modi event instead. What could have been a big chance to educate Indians and the world about how Pakistan bred terrorism and continues to do so has now been reduced to a PM Modi centric evaluation of the events, all thanks to the hatred which media houses have for our PM and the BJP.