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Spotlight On PM Modi’s Sikh Outreach & Surprise Farm Laws’ Repeal

It is on the occasion of Gurpurab – the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev – that Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to break the impasse by repealing three farm laws. Modi’s surprising climbdown on farm reforms acknowledges that the farm protests were not only hurting BJP’s prospects in poll-bound states but were also causing unintentional, deep divide in the society. During his earlier outreach to Sikhs (February 2021), Modi offered the nation’s gratitude: “What have they not done for this country? Whatever respect we give them will always be less.” At Rajya Sabha came his call to stand with the Sikhs: “We must not forget what happened with Punjab. It suffered the most during the Partition 1947. It cried the most during the 1984 riots.” The new farm laws – despite being transformative – had stirred passions with the most vocal resistance coming from Punjab and adjoining geographies that gave Green Revolution. The PM’s fresh outreach must be welcomed: The Sikh families not only contribute disproportionately to the farming sector but also send the bravest of warriors to the defence forces. It may be recalled that it was the failure of the then government to manage the Punjab agrarian alienation which eventually led to a violent separatist movement, followed by a series of tragic consequences: Operation Bluestar, assassination of PM Indira Gandhi, and anti-Sikh riots in 1984.