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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Mann rejects ‘one-sided’ inquiry ordered by Akal Takht jathedar

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, June 09, 2014
First Published: 01:39 IST(9/6/2014) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(9/6/2014)

Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann has rejected the proposed “one-sided inquiry” by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) as directed by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

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The jathedar had on Saturday asked the SGPC to form a panel to inquire into the violence that took place in the Golden Temple complex on June 6 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, which was observed at the Akal Takht. As many as 12 persons were injured as Sikh radicals clashed with the task force of the SGPC in the shrine complex.

The SGPC inquiry panel will fix responsibility on those involved in the violence and the jathedar has made it clear that the Akal Takht would take action against them as per Sikh tenets.

“I reject a panel which will only comprise SGPC members. If an impartial inquiry is to be conducted, our representatives as well as some neutral observers should also be included in the panel, as the SGPC is not expected to conduct a fair inquiry”, Mann told reporters here on Sunday.

Reiterating that he had no hand in the “unfortunate events” that took place inside the shrine on Friday, Mann said that when certain persons expressed their resentment over the manner in which proceedings were being conducted during the anniversary function, he was summoned by the Akal Takht jathedar.

The former MP claimed that while he was listening to the jathedar, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, who was also present, passed some derogatory remarks on him (Mann).

“The youngsters present in the gathering, who had come to voice their resentment against drugs, got angry after Makkar’s remarks and also when I was not allowed to address the gathering. I had no role in instigating them”, he claimed.

Commenting on the statements of Makkar, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Congress MP Capt Amarinder Singh, holding him responsible for the violence and raising of pro-Khalistan slogans, Mann said, “What credentials have these persons got that they should comment on a person who sacrificed his entire career for the cause of the Sikhs. Did not Badal and Amarinder sign the ‘Amritsar Declaration’ in 1992, which favoured a separate state for the Sikhs?”

To prove his point, Mann produced a copy of the declaration to show the signatures of Badal and Amarinder alongside his signatures and those of former governor Surjit Singh Barnala and former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He also displayed a newspaper photograph showing himself alongside these leaders and the then Akal Takht acting jathedar, Prof Manjit Singh.

Mann declared that he would be soon meeting the 21 youths who had been arrested following the violence in the shrine. He said that he would take every legal recourse to get them released.

NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER CIRCUIT HOUSE, MANN HOLDS PC AT DHABA
Mann had to hold his press conference (PC) in a dhaba after he was prohibited from entering the circuit house, where he was scheduled to hold it.
The media persons were invited for the PC at the circuit house, but as they reached the venue, they found the circuit house’s gate shut and a large police contingent guarding its entrance. The police personnel informed that they had orders not to allow Mann to enter the complex.
“I was not allowed to enter the circuit house. This does not bother me. I can even stand outside in the hot summer sun and address the media”, he said even as he pointed out that as a former MP he was entitled to enter any government rest house.

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