BY HITESH TIKOO
London, Oct 11 (IANS) A Sikh Briton has been fined 10,000 pounds for violating Covid-19 restrictions by organising a car rally in support of the farmers in Punjab.
Deepa Singh (39) was fined on the spot in Southall on October 4 after nearly 4,000 people on cars, tractors, tempos and motorbikes had gathered for the rally and caused a gridlock on the streets of the borough to show solidarity with the farmers in India who are protesting against a new agriculture law.
“The fine is apparently going to be sent to me within 28 days. My lawyers will fight it,” Deepa said.
“The police came up to me at the start and warned me I would be breaching coronavirus legislation as it was not political and it was a large gathering. It still went ahead. Then an hour in they came up to me, told me to get out of my van and charged me.
“The police are saying it is not political but there are farmers protesting across India and hundreds committing suicide. How is that not political? How can I not be political when I talk about 1984 and Khalistan? Being a Sikh makes you political.
“Black Lives Matters protests took place and they were not charged 10,000 pounds. All the Pakistanis celebrated Eid in the streets of Southall and they were not fined either. They seem to be targeting Sikhs.
“I stand with the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. The farmers are protesting because they are not getting fair trade. This gave courage and strength to our brothers and sisters in Punjab,” he added.
Shamsher Singh, from the National Sikh Youth Federation said: “The rally was organised to show solidarity with the farmers and labourers in our Sikh homeland where farmers are resisting discriminatory new laws that give control of the markets and land to corporations.
“We have no idea on what basis they fined Deepa. The police were not clear in their instructions and did not block traffic for us and were not helpful in any way.”
A Metropolitan police spokesperson said: “A man has been reported for consideration of a 10,000 pounds fixed penalty notice for breaching the Health Protection Relations 2020 in relation to a protest that took place in Southall on October 4.
“Protests are not exempt under coronavirus legislation. Organisers must carry out a full risk assessment and take all steps to limit the transmission of the virus; they must make sure this is adhered to.”
The rally fizzled out after the police issued a dispersal order.
BY HITESH TIKOO