ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Beyond Statements of Intent

Beyond Statements of Intent The recently concluded Jor Mela at Falegarh Sahib, traditionally a religious gathering transformed this year into a political event, quite apart from delineating Sikh factional positions was revealing in other respects too, notably for confirming that for any stable political arrangement to materialise in Punjab a great deal of assiduous wooing and shrewd bargaining is required and the initiative for both will have to come from the centre. This was made clear enough by the lone and substance of the demands made from the various platforms at the mela. While Bhai Manjit Singh and Harminder Singh Sandhu of the AISSF reiterated their native line of pure Khalistan, before doing which they consulted Shnranjit Singh Mann at the bidding of the Damdami Taksal chief Baba Thakur Singh, and the Akali Dal (Badal) predictably denounced the Congress(l)'s neglect of Punjab, endorsed the autonomy envisaged in the Anandpur Sahib resolution and expressed faith in the new government, Mann's discomfiture with the prevailing lack of direction was evident in his rhetoric which, though laced with aggression, shied away from spelling out any definite agenda save the demand for early assembly elections. Mann's recent public postures have invited hardly warranted insinuations of his confusion as also the accompanying implication that this precludes any settlement with him, and as the extremists do not qualify anyway, the argument boils down to a veiled advocacy of settlement with the 'moderates'. And for those with little faith in the moderates the alternative is the law and order hardline.

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