In India, minorities get special privileges under various Articles of the constitution as well as the executive decisions of the government. Various exemptions are given to the minority community and every year special grants are allocated by the union as well as state governments to the Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and other minority communities living in the country. However, in the Indian states where Hindus are in minority, the same protections and privileges are not extended to the community. In the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Hindus are in minority and the plights of Kashmiri Pandits resonates with us even today. However, a less sad story that receives little attention is the plight of Hindus in the Sikh dominated Punjab.
Since the separation of Punjab (before that Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were part of Punjab and the state was a Hindu majority )as a Sikh majority state in 1966 by the Indira Gandhi government, the Hindus of the state have faced systematic discrimination.
Although Hindus constitute 39 per cent population of the state, it has not had a single Hindu CM since the creation as a Sikh majority state in 1966. In fact, since the separation of Punjab, the percentage of Sikhs in the state increased till 1991 and that of other religions declined due to killings, exodus, and systematic discrimination.
Under the reign of terror of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thousands of Hindus were killed, and ultimately Punjab’s CM Beant Singh and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were also massacred.
The Khalistani terrorists, while on the killing spree of Hindus, didn’t spare even the Hindu women and children. In 1987, the Sikh terrorists gunned down almost every passenger on a bus taking Hindus to their holy bathing site only because they were Hindus. The incident got much media attention and was reported by global media giants like the Associated Press, BBC, and the NYT.
Many people in the state of Punjab were killed as early as 2016-17 just because they were Hindus. Shots were fired on RSS Shakhs to terrorise Hindus. On the other hand, the Khalistani sympathisers cry loud when the people responsible for the killing of Hindus are nabbed in the state. In 2017, when a Sikh terrorist named Jagtar Singh Johal – responsible for the killing off many Hindus – was caught by the Indian investigation agencies, Khalistani sympathisers like Diljit Dosanjh started tweeting out for his freedom.
“Saddened to hear the reports of the torture of Jagtar Singh Johal after his arrest in Punjab. Whatever the allegations on him may be, every person has the right to a free trial. As Sikhs we pray for Sarbat Da Bhalla.🙏🏽 #freejagginow,” tweeted Dosanjh after the arrest of Johal.
Saddened to hear the reports of the torture of Jagtar Singh Johal after his arrest in Punjab. Whatever the allegations on him may be, every person has the right to a free trial. As Sikhs we pray for Sarbat Da Bhalla.🙏🏽 #freejagginow
— DILJIT DOSANJH (@diljitdosanjh) November 19, 2017
Sikh supremacists like Yograj Singh, who is a celebrated actor and was a first-class cricketer (and father of Yuvraj Singh), spewed venom against Hindus while he spoke in support of the ongoing farmers’ protests, and one can sense the intensity of hatred he holds against Hindus among his Sikh hardliners from his speech. “Ye Hindu gaddar hai, sau saal mughalon ki ghulami ki,” said Yograj Singh. “Inki auraten take-take ke bhaw bikti,” he added.
He also made racist comments against Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. “These people would take a u-turn even if they swore on their mothers, sisters, and daughters,” said Yograj.
Thousands of Sikh supremacists in Punjab including celebrities like Yograj Singh often celebrate and deify Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. “Every person here is a ‘Jarnail.’ If you want to save Punjab, ensure that power is in your hands. If the power is in your hand, you will see a new sun rising from the land of Punjab,” said Yograj Singh in a speech which went viral on social media.
The plight of Punjabi Hindus is a topic rarely talked about and discussed in the intellectual establishment of the country. However, after what happened at the Red Fort on 26th January, many people have started raising questions.
“In Punjab, Hindus are 39%. Not one CM of Punjab till date is Hindu. All CMs hail from one particular religious community & one particular caste within that community. Yet, Hindus are not officially considered as “minority”. Majority community enjoys minority reservations. Why?” tweeted a popular user who goes by the name of Bhardwajspeaks.
In Punjab, Hindus are 39%.
Not one CM of Punjab till date is Hindu. All CMs hail from one particular religious community & one particular caste within that community.
Yet, Hindus are not officially considered as "minority". Majority community enjoys minority reservations.Why?
— Bharadwaj (@BharadwajSpeaks) February 10, 2021
The plight of more than 1 crore Hindus of Punjab and their ancestors, needs to be discussed. Punjab belongs even to the Hindus and they are never counted among the minorities in the state. While the plight of Kashmiri Pandits is a well-known fact, the sad story of the Punjabi Hindus is yet to be told.