Deepa Singh (39) was fined the large sum on the spot in Southall final Sunday after 100 automobiles, lorries, tractors, tempos and motorbikes adorned with fabric emblazoned with “Kisan Punjab” and “Supporting Punjab farmers” and 4,000 folks brought about a gridlock on the streets of the borough to indicate solidarity with farmers in India who’re protesting in opposition to new agri-marketing legal guidelines.
Deepa ignored the police and the rally carried on inflicting pandemonium and chaos all through Southall for a number of hours as autos and other people blocked roads and pavements. “The fine is apparently going to be sent to me within 28 days. My lawyers will fight it,” Deepa mentioned.
“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,” Deepa mentioned.
“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. All the Pakistanis celebrated Eid in the streets of Southall and they were not fined either. They seem to be targeting Sikhs,” he mentioned.
“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.
He mentioned he didn’t want police permission to carry the protest because it was a automobile rally. Despite getting fined, the rally carried on.
Popular Punjabi songs blasted from the autos, together with a music invoking Bhagat Singh as drivers honked and British Sikhs chanted “Kisan mazdoor ekta zindabad (long live unity between farmers and labourers)” and Kisan bachao (Save farmers)”. Yellow banners had been unfold throughout some automobile bonnets and Khalistan slogans had been additionally raised.
A 3rd of the inhabitants of Southall — often known as Little Punjab — is Sikh and plenty of nonetheless personal farmland in Punjab.
Whilst some protesters wore face masks, not all did. “You don’t have to wear face masks outside or in cars in the UK but even so I told people to wear them. But I can’t control what the whole world does,” Deepa mentioned. “I blame the police as they delayed the start by coming up to me in my vehicle when I could have spoken more about social distancing.”
Shamsher Singh of the National Sikh Youth Federation mentioned: “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.” He mentioned the rally fizzled out after 6pm when the police issued a dispersal order.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police mentioned: “A man has been reported for consideration of a £10,000 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.”