With the father of slain Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala announcing a big congregation on the first death anniversary of his son on Sunday, the assembly of his followers and political leaders is being keenly watched, with Congress’s top leadership from the state expected to be present. This comes amid a row kicked up by the controversial interview of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, accused of planning the hit on the singer.
Balkaur Singh, father of the slain singer, had recently announced the date of the ‘Barsi’ through a video message, asking his followers and fans to assemble in Mansa on Sunday. The preparations are underway at the new grain market in Mansa, the venue for the congregation. The Mansa administration is also keeping a close eye and expecting a huge rush and elaborate arrangements have been made for the function.
Given that Balkaur Singh had been receiving death threats, Mansa Deputy Commissioner Baldeep Kaur has announced a ban on flying drones at the new grain market on Sunday. On Friday, senior police officials, including ADGP Bathinda Range SPS Parmar along with Mansa SSP Nanak Singh, visited the venue and reviewed the security arrangements.
Interestingly, the ‘Barsi’ will be held just a few days after a purported interview of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi telecast by a private channel in which he allegedly made some scathing remarks about the slain singer.
Moosewala’s family has expressed their anger at the telecast of the interview, raising questions over how it was recorded from inside a high-security prison. Balkaur Singh had criticised the Punjab government over the interview and demanded a probe into it.
What has also raised temperatures in political circles is that top leaders from Congress are expected to attend the programme which comes just days after Balkaur Singh held a ‘dharna’ outside the Punjab assembly to demand justice for his son, alleging that the real ‘culprits’ have not been arrested.
The family has been upset over the Bhagwant Mann government’s handling of the situation. Balkaur Singh had lifted the ‘dharna’ following an assurance from the Punjab chief minister that he would meet him personally after March 20.
The Congress has upped the ante over the slain singer’s killing ever since. “It is a gross breakdown of law and order in Punjab. While the chief minister is attending the G20 conference, one of the most wanted criminals of the country Lawrence Bishnoi was conveniently giving interviews from a jail cell in Punjab,” said Leader of Opposition in the assembly Partap Bajwa.
Congress sources said though officially they will not make announcement which could turn the ‘Barsi’ into a political event, as a follow-up, the party intends to highlight Moosewala — who had contested on a Congress ticket — and his killing to put pressure on the Mann government.
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