Declining “Jokes on Sikhs” on Internet after FIR

JALANDHAR: There is a downward trend in sending of jokes that were found to be demeaning sardars (Sikhs) on the social media, following the registration of an FIR against a person in Jalandhar, who was booked for insulting the community last month. Social media users also say that the tone of jokes has become less caustic after the case, since it could hurt the feelings of the community and may land a person or groups in trouble.

“I am member of two groups on WhatsApp where jokes on Sikhs were being shared frequently. But after this case, news of which was also very widely circulated on social media, I am yet to come across jokes ridiculing Sikhs,” said Phagwara-based industrialist Charanjit Singh.

“People may be sending such jokes to their personal friends but clearly, there is a downward trend in sharing jokes on Sikhs on the social media. In the six groups on WhatsApp, where I am an active member, very few jokes on Sikhs have been shared in the last around three weeks. Even the shared ones were not derogatory as was happening earlier,” said Kawaljit Singh, a Ludhiana-based garment manufacturer.

“I came to know about the jokes episode through WhatsApp where a TOI story was shared about the registration of a first such case in Jalandhar. I had thought of forwarding two jokes on sardars on social media groups, but then I thought that it could land me in trouble as I was not aware of the identity of the members of the group. Anybody can feel offended and lodge a complaint now. It was happening as a routine that Sikhs were being ridiculed in the jokes. But now, I realize that it was hurting and people should desist from ridiculing any community, especially the one which is known for good qualities,” said Phagwara-resident Vijay Singla.

Jalandhar resident Narinder Singh Lucky of Sikh Action Committee lodged the case against another city resident Atul Mehta, from Dilbagh Nagar locality, under sections 295 A of IPC for hurting religious sentiments and sections 66A and 67 of the IT Act after the latter sent him 15 jokes on sardars.

Following the case, Lucky said they had announced and also spread the word through social media that they would pursue complaints against persons sending jokes ridiculing sardars.

Mehta had to cool heels in jail for around a fortnight before securing bail. “But after this case and despite our messages to report such jokes to us, we have not received any complaint or report. The trend has clearly declined at least in Punjab. In future, we shall pursue cases if jokes ridiculing Sikhs are cracked on TV channels too, which had been happening in the past,” Lucky said.

Jalandhar (west) assistant commissioner of police (ACP) RPS Sandhu, who got the first case about jokes deriding sardars registered, said police have not reveived any other complaint after that.

Source: TOI

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