Dal Khalsa, a Sikh outfit subscribing to the creation of a separate Sikh state with democratic and peaceful means, on Monday lamblasted veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar for writing in his latest book that “Giani Zail Singh had blessed the foundation of the Dal Khalsa to needle the Akalis”.
In a statement, Dal Khalsa president HS Dhami charged Nayar with spreading vilified propaganda in his recently published book ‘Beyond the Lines: An Autography’, insisting that there was not even an iota of truth in his claims.
Dhami said that Dal Khalsa was founded on August 6, 1978, at a meeting held at a Chandigarh gurdwara by several Sikh youth organisations. However, the founding members made it public through a press conference on August 13. The nomenclature ‘Dal Khalsa’ was provided by former Indian Civil Service officer Sirdar Kapur Singh and the organisation stood for the glory of the Khalsa Panth and defied the mainstream political parties, including the Akalis, he added.
Referring to Nayar’s reference that Giani Zail Singh’s supporters paid the bill for the Dal Khalsa’s first press conference at a Chandigarh hotel, Dhami said this controversy had arisen because Giani happened to hold his press conference at the same hotel and virtually at the same time. It was on the basis of this that Nayar had linked the creation of the Dal Khalsa to the Congress, said Dhami.
Challenging Nayar’s claim that the Congress had founded the Dal Khalsa to needle the Akalis, Dhami said three years after its formation, the Dal Khalsa activists had hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Lahore to seek the release of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and lodge their protest against the killings of 16 Sikh protesters at Chowk Mehta on September 20, 1981. At that time, Punjab was ruled by the Congress and the same party was at the helm at the Centre.
Following the hijacking, the Union government had banned the Dal Khalsa, which continued till 1994. “How come then that the Dal Khalsa activities became a cause of embarrassment for the Akalis,” he questioned.
The Dal Khalsa chief also criticised Nayar for portraying Bhai Amrik Singh, former All India Sikh Students Federation chief, who was killed during Operation Bluestar, as an “ IB agent”, dubbing it “a senseless allegation that no sensible person can believe”.