With Punjab Police suspecting involvement of Lawrence Bishnoi’s gang in the murder of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, the son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal and Congress MP Kuldeep Bishnoi have come out against the use of the “Bishnoi gang” by the media.
Kuldeep Bishnoi, boss of Akhil Bhartiya Bishnoi Mahasabha, wrote to Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday.
He mentioned, “For some time, different print and electronic media organizations have been using the word ‘Bishnoi gang’ in relation to criminal incidents, which is highly reprehensible and insulting to the entire Bishnoi community. Every community has good people and bad people, but the mention of swear words for the whole community is extremely reprehensible. For this, the Akhil Bhartiya Bishnoi Mahasabha had also warned the media groups earlier. At that time, some media groups had assured that in the future, the word “Bishnoi gang” would no longer be used. But after the Punjab incident, the whole Bishnoi community is insulted by using this word which is intolerable.
He urged Thakur to issue instructions to media groups not to use the “Bishnoi gang” in news or electronic channels. The head of the mahasabha also warned against legal action apart from boycotting the media groups concerned as well.
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Professor Surender Bishnoi, general secretary of Jambhani Sahitya Academy – which is the literary body of the Bishnoi community – suggests that the media should avoid using gangs behind a particular caste. Surender said, “There is no criminal caste. Thus, a criminal or his gang should not be called by his caste. The Bishnoi community has a golden history and high morals. The community believes in brotherhood, social harmony and non-violence. Community members have sacrificed their lives for the protection of the environment and wildlife. Some community members also suggest mentioning the word gang after a specific person instead of using the word after the community name.
However, Subhash Godara, former secretary of Hisar Bishnoi Sabha, said that nowadays communities and individuals have started to feel hurt even for small things. “If we take it in a lighter way, then there is no need for the whole community to be defamed even if such a word is mentioned to refer to a particular person who adds the name of his community behind his name. Everyone knows that this gang is mentioned to refer only to Lawrence Bishnoi, and no one else. However, if any part of the community feels offended by the use of a word like in such a case, then the media should respect their feelings and avoid the use of particular words,” Godara said.
The love of the Bishnois for the environment and wildlife
Guru Jambheshwar, also known as Jambhoji, was the founder of the Bishnoi sect. Community members are known for their love and sacrifice for the environment and wildlife. The Bishnois trace their origin to the teachings of Guru Jambheshwar who was born into a Panwar Rajput family in 1451 AD in Peepasar village of Nagore district in western Rajasthan. Guru Jambheshwar had published a list of 29 rules which had to be followed by his community of followers in order to lead a healthy and balanced life. The 29 rules enacted by the founder are what give the community its name — bish (20), noi (9).
The ban on killing animals and the ban on felling trees were part of these rules.
Perhaps the most famous among the cases of protection of Bishnoi flora and fauna is the incident dating back to 1730 AD, when Amrita Devi and her daughters gave their lives, challenging Maharaja Abhay Singh’s decision to chopping down Khejri trees in Khejari village. Rajasthan to build his palace. Legend has it that a total of 363 people died protecting the trees from the saws of the ruler and his men. Lately however, the Bishnoi have been making headlines for a battle they are engaged in against Bollywood actor Salman Khan.
The murder of Moosewala and Lawrence Bishnoi
Hours after the sensational murder of Sidhu Moosewala, Punjab DGP VK Bhawra hinted at the involvement of Lawrence Bishnoi gang. Although Bishnoi is currently being held in Tihar prison, his name is increasingly coming up in murder and extortion cases. Punjab Police on Monday made a breakthrough in the Sidhu Moosewala murder case by arresting a man from Sirsa district in Haryana who allegedly passed information on the singer’s movements to snipers who attacked his vehicle and shot him.
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The arrested accused was identified as Sandeep alias Kekra, who was enlisted to carry out the reconnaissance by Sachin Bishnoi, who claimed to have killed Moosewala “with his own hands”. Sachin is the nephew of Lawrence Bishnoi, whose gang members originally claimed to have carried out the revenge killing. Earlier on June 3, police arrested two people – Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb – in another murder case registered in Moga and are investigating their role in Moosewala’s murder.