The newly-formed Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has started bearing fruit for the Shiromani Akali Dal. The turn of events during the past fortnight has proved that being in charge of the DSGMC is not an ordinary achievement for the SAD.
SAD's Delhi president Manjit Singh GK, who took over as the committee president on February 26, led the protests in Delhi, against the central government in the past 10 days, forcing the central government to bow, promising to move an appeal in a higher court against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, an accused in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, who was acquitted recently.
After acquittal of Sajjan Kumar 10 days ago, the activists of the SAD swung into action and went on the rampage in Delhi, blocking traffic, stopping metro trains, holding a protest outside the house of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and doing everything to draw the attention of the central government.
Finally, the central government succumbed to the pressure and a signal was sent to the Akalis to come for discussion across the table.
On May 8, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy Chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and the entire SAD team, including MLAs, MPs and other leaders, gathered in Delhi. A memorandum was given to the President, and a core committee meeting was held, asking the DSGMC and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to move the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the central government to form a special investigation team to probe all cases of the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the country in 1984.
The entire team, along with Akali Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, also went to Jantar Mantar where riot victim Nirpreet Kaur was on a hunger strike as a mark of protest, and asked her to end her fast.
Speaking here, Parkash Singh Badal acknowledged the efforts of the Delhi unit of his party and the DSGMC, which fought for the Sikh cause. It was made evidently clear that the Akali faction having control over the DSGMC could only make things move in the central government.
The Delhi faction of the SAD is also closely following the case of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who is on death row for a bomb blast in the early 1990s. The SAD is seeking clemency for Bhullar and the DSGMC is acting as a catalyst in this.
Badal also must have realised that there can't be a better choice for the post of the DSGMC president than Manjit Singh GK, who was made to join the SAD in 2008. GK is the son of slain Akali leader Jathedar Santokh Singh, and has a flair for handling Sikh issues. Youth Akali leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, general secretary of the DSGMC, is complementing GK and has shown that he can match the Akali aggression and can undertake long protests for which Akalis are known.
With GK in charge of the DSGMC, Badal has got the opportunity to come closer to the urban Sikhs and show to the masses that the SAD is not a party of peasants only. Political analysts also see the recent turn of events as efforts to make his son and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal have a better say in the national politics.