A day after Anad music academy was thrown out of the heritage Quila Serai at the Sultanpur Lodhi fort, its chairman Bhai Baldeep Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday demanded suspension of the cops involved.
Besides action against the Kapurthala senior superintendent of police (SSP) and the DSP and station house officer (SHO) of Sultanpur Lodhi, he has sought unconditional apology from the state government and the police for "sacrilege against the cultural heritage of the times of Guru Nanak".
At a press conference here, Bhai Baldeep Singh recalled how the Sultanpur Lodhi police had ousted the academy's pupils and taken away its music instruments from the historic fort. "They did not spare even the rare symbols of the Punjab and Sikh traditions," he said, claiming that the Akali leadership is getting back at him for contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha election on the AAP ticket.
"This is an instance of high-handedness, imprisonment threats and police brutality," he said, claiming to be hurt by the Kapurthala SSP's media statement that the eviction was necessary for the state's security in the wake of the Gurdaspur terror attack. "The Anad Foundation is among the most important custodians of the cultural heritage of our country in general and Punjab in particular. Its history and my family's legacy start from Guru Nanak's disciple Sadharan, whom Guru Amar Das gave the title of Bhai. We are not a threat to Punjab; we are Punjab itself," he said.
The AAP leader said the foundation had come to Sultanpur Lodhi more than three years ago on the request of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and subsequent decision of the Sultanpur Lodhi development board. "In the annual state budget of 2011-12, `2 crore was allocated to this academy. The legislators of all parties were then thumping their desks in the Vidhan Sabha when the government applauded and acknowledged our legacy," he said.
He presented what he claimed was written consent from the police and the administration to giving the foundation the quarter's possession in 2011. The leader plans to seek support from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC). "Anad has played a big role in restoring the monument's structure and heritage value. It has been in possession of it for four years and three months. Under law, no one can divest us of property," he said, adding that it was regrettable that the cops had scared the pupils and taken instruments to the police station.