I am sure the bhaktas and the BJP will maintain a long silence over this, but that is exactly why problems in Punjab fester and blow out of proportion: why was the Sikh regiment not part of the Republic Day parade?
The Punjab CM Badal, whose party SAD is based on panthic issues and seeks to represent Sikh causes has now written to the PM calling it 'sad and regrettable'. The Congress has jumped into the fray calling it a 'grave omission'. The Sikhs are upset and as happens with issues related to Sikhs the grievance is pouring in from UK and the Diaspora. The reason alleged is that the French premier was the chief guest and Sikhs in France have been contesting French laws which disallow turbans in schools. India did not want to displease the French.
The BJP is in partnership with the SAD in Punjab and their marriage is on its silver jubilee. The Hindu supremacist ideology considers Sikhs to be part of Hindu religion - its militant wing - but this is exactly the reason for the struggle for identity between the communities. The BJP central government owes an explanation. It could be any reason: parade arrangements, rotation of contingents, selection process (which prevented Punjab from showing off its tableau fourth year in a row), or the theory which is gaining currency - pleasing the French masters (?).
If it is the last then super nationalist saffron has yet again demonstrated its double-speak. It wants to be the biggest bully in the street called India but sucks up to its foreign masters. If it willfully, on a flimsy pretext of pleasing a guest ignored the Sikh community's long history of service to the nation, it is pathetic. It is time the central government explains to the community.
Yet, given the track record of this government, like the previous government, no one will speak and when the Sikhs add this insult to the long list of grievances against the Indian state, the state and BJP will cry loud: no, no, we don't discriminate against the community!
If you respond that the turban issue is symbolic to Sikhs, then the Republic Day parade is also symbolic to nations. Communities and nations are formed by symbols.