Protests have erupted at the Bhikhi road grain market in Kotduna village, Barnala district, as supporters rally behind YouTuber Bhagwan Singh Bhana Sidhu, who is currently facing three criminal cases. The unprecedented gathering includes farmer unions, social activists, political parties, and the ‘Bandi Singh’ morcha, all expressing concerns over the Punjab Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s handling of dissent.

Protest erupts in support of Bhana Sidhu who is facing legal charges


Wide-ranging Support for Bhana Sidhu

The protest witnessed a diverse turnout, with figures such as former MLA Iqbal Singh Jhunda, farmer unionists Ruldu Singh Mansa, Baldev Singh Zira, and others standing in solidarity. Even individuals connected to the late actor Deep Sidhu and Beant Singh assassination convict Jagtar Singh Hawara’s father participated in the demonstration.

Allegations Against AAP Government

Accusations have been levelled against the Punjab AAP government, with protesters claiming alignment with the BJP in dealing with dissent. Congress legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira denounced the Mann government, labelling it as the “most oppressive in suppressing dissent.” Khaira urged the public to refrain from supporting AAP in the upcoming 2024 elections, citing the actions against Bhana Sidhu as indicative of a broader issue.

Threats of Confrontation and March

In a bold move, farmer unions threatened to confront the government, drawing parallels with the challenges faced by the central government during the Delhi agitation. Lakhbir Singh ‘Lakha Sidhana,’ associated with the farmers’ protest, called for widespread support for Bhana Sidhu and announced a march to the chief minister’s native village on February 5, emphasising the importance of defending Punjab’s rights.

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Multiple Criminal Cases Against Bhana Sidhu

Bhana Sidhu is currently entangled in three recent criminal cases, with charges ranging from extortion in Ludhiana to snatching in Patiala and further accusations of extortion and criminal intimidation in Abohar, Fazilka district. These legal issues have prompted concerns among his supporters, who view them as part of a larger trend.

Political Figures Demand Release and Decry Suppression

Punjab Leader of Opposition (LoP) Bajwa voiced support for Bhana Sidhu and criticised the AAP government for stifling dissent. Bajwa demanded Sidhu’s release and the dismissal of what he perceived as false cases. Additionally, concerns were raised about the alleged harassment of anti-drug activist Parwinder Singh Jhota by Punjab Police, and claims surfaced that the AAP government blocked journalists’ social media accounts critical of its policies.

Protest erupt against the arrest of Bhana Sidhu who is facing legal charges


In summary, the protests reflect a groundswell of support for Bhana Sidhu, with a diverse coalition expressing broader concerns about the AAP government’s treatment of dissent and the legal challenges faced by the YouTuber. The situation has escalated to the point where confrontations are threatened, and political figures are taking a stand against perceived suppression.