‘Faith’ ghost back to haunt Sadiq - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

‘Faith’ ghost back to haunt Sadiq

‘Faith’ ghost back to haunt Sadiq

Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 10

Just when candidates for the “politico-religious sensitive” Faridkot parliamentary seat have been announced by all major political parties in fray, the Congress candidate, Mohammad Sadiq, is being hounded by his rivals, who have pulled out a ghost from the past. 

Though the issue of Sadiq, a member of Doom caste amongst Marasis, has been settled by none less than the Supreme Court of India, his rivals, both from within his party and his opponents in the fray, are once again talking of his “fluid faith”. It’s not just the social media, but murmurings about Sadiq's faith (he was born in a non- practising Muslim family) is becoming the subject of discussion in the constituency. 

Many in the political circles believe that raking up this issue now is a deliberate attempt to change the political narrative from sacrilege incidents of 2015 that continue to hold sway in Faridkot, the epicentre of sacrilege, to caste politics. No wonder that Shiromani Akali Dal has fielded a Mazhabi Sikh (Gulzar Singh Ranike) from Faridkot, as the Mazhabi Sikh population is over 1.50 lakh there. 

Prof Manjit Singh, an eminent sociologist feels that it is an attempt to change the narrative, but will not hold for long. “Voting for General Election does not happen on local issues like caste factor. It was proved in 2014 when Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wanted to withdraw Prof Sadhu Singh's candidature as he belongs to Ravidasia community, which has barely 25,000 votes. Thus, the narrative will not change and the controversy will die,” he reasoned. 

Sadiq, himself, is not too sure if it is his political rivals from outside the Congress or within his party, who are raking up the issue of his faith. “I had thought that my battle on this issue was over. Apparently, the issue is being drawn up again to sabotage my campaign. But I won't be pulled down,” says a determined Sadiq.

Since 2012, the first time that Sadiq contested the election from Bhaduar assembly segment, his “faith” has been questioned by his rivals. He won the Assembly election in 2012, defeating Akali Dal’s Darbara Singh Guru. In March 2012, Guru filed a case in Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that Sadiq, being a Muslim, was not eligible to fight elections from a reserved constituency. 

Sadiq argued that he had grown up as a Muslim and not a Sikh, and that he had converted to Sikhism in 2006. However, in April 2015, the HC ruled in Guru’s favour and disqualified Sadiq from the Assembly, ruling that he had failed to prove he was a Sikh. Later that month, Sadiq appealed to the Supreme Court and on April 29, 2016, the SC overturned the HC decision, reinstating Sadiq as MLA. In its verdict, the SC had observed that “a person can change his religion or faith, but not the caste to which he belongs to, as caste has linkage to birth”.

After he won the case, Sadiq contested the polls unsuccessfully from Jaito Assembly segment in 2017. Sources say that he has remained active in Jaito even after he lost the election, and his connect with the people could help him now.

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