Caught in the centre of a storm after last year’s Republic Day violence, actor-activist Deep Sidhu and gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana have both seen their lives change dramatically after being accused of playing a part in the conspiracy to hoist a Sikh flag at Red Fort.
While Sidhu claims suffering professional losses after being branded anti-national, Sidhana has since managed to secure a ticket from SSM to fight the upcoming polls.
While both were sidelined by farmer unions in immediate wake of the R-Day violence, Sidhana has restored his ties with activist farmers to an extent to be fielded from Maur to fight elections.
Deep Sidhu, meanwhile, is still struggling. Sidhu, who runs Mumbai-based law firm, Lex Legal, which deals with Intellectual Property Rights and International Law, said: “I lost most of the clients as I was termed anti-national after last Republic Day. I am left with no business with my law firm. It was source of my earning.”
Last year, Sidhu was accused of having ties with the BJP and provoking protesters to march towards Red Fort. His links with BJP MP Sunny Deol continued to hunt him as he had campaigned for Bollywood actor in 2019 Parliament elections.
“I faced isolation because I stood against the majoritarianism. Nishan Sahib is way of life for us and when we believe that India is a diverse country then there should be nothing wrong in hoisting Nishan Sahib as well as farmer flags and Tricolour at the Red Fort. In diverse cultures, these three can coexist and there are no contradictions. Nobody disrespected the Tricolour. But because nobody believes in diversity for real, so I had to face consequences,” said Deep Sidhu.
He added that he still has offers from some political parties to join the main stream.
“But what is use of such a politics if I just have to become one of those politicians who can do nothing to strengthen the federal structure and fight for rights of Punjab,” he said.
Deep Sidhu, who is also a Punjabi actor, said: “Currently, I am working on three movies. One is sequel of movie Jora. Second is on the life of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra. And third is based on Mirja-Sahiba,” said Deep Sidhu, whose popularity on social media has remained unaffected despite his isolation on ground.
“My life has changed a lot after spending time at Delhi’s Tihar jail. It was unexpected turn of events for a successful lawyer. But I believe in chardi kala,” he said.
Unlike Deep Sidhu, Sidhana again jumped straight into politics after getting bail. At first, he searched for political space with Haryana farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni in Punjab and then decided to contest as Independent from Maur constituency. Later, he was made SSM candidate from same seat.