On August 28th, a major fight broke out on Wigram Street in Sydney and it has been alleged that it was organized on TikTok. The fight allegedly took place between Haryanvi and Punjabi student communities, reflecting a conflict that has historically been part of the Indian psyche.
Why Did it Happen?
The reason for the fight goes back to the Khalistani movement that began at the time of independence, which demanded a separate sovereign state for Sikh-majorities of Punjab.
Under Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a militant leader, the movement gathered momentum in the 1980s, leading to large scale Anti-Sikh riots throughout India and the notorious assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.
These extremist sentiments that go against the constitutional integrity of the country are prevalent even today. A 33-year-old male named Jassi posted pro-Khalistani content on TikTok. This is one of the videos that have circulated throughout social media.
His opinions on TikTok were met with a backlash after the Haryanvi student community opposed it. Mobs were formed within the online media itself and both sides met with each other on the streets for the fight.
What Happened On That Night
According to an Indian radio station based in Sydney, there were nearly 40 people involved in the brawl that was communicated and broadcasted through TikTok.
Both the communities had become very hostile through their comments and interactions and threatened to have a face-off on the decided place, date and time.
Both sides were injured and affected and Jassi, who is alleged to have started it, was wounded severely. Parramatta Police were quick to intervene and disperse the fight. Jassi was picked up and is now assisting the police with the issue.
Punjabi and Haryanvi community leaders have strongly condemned this incident and were deeply critical of it as the region has been known for its communal harmony.
In response to the incident, Gurmeet Tulli, the president of Little India Precinct, has called for the need for the Indian High Commission to take steps to educate Indian students coming to Australia to respect the multicultural integrity of the country.
Geoff Lee, the Acting Minister for Multiculturalism, said that he has directed a video conference with the community leaders through his agency called Multicultural NSW to address the issue.
The incident has not gained attention among Indian media but is a stark reminder of how India’s communal issues finds itself brewing on foreign soil.
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