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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Mann shrugs off clash blame, holds SGPC chief responsible

Harkirat Singh, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, June 07, 2014
First Published: 08:46 IST(7/6/2014) | Last Updated: 20:16 IST(7/6/2014)

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Amritsar) president and former Lok Sabha member Simranjit Singh Mann held Avtar Singh Makkar, chief of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), responsible for the clash at the Golden Temple complex on Friday morning.

“I did not provoke anyone, but the people who support my views got provoked themselves due to injustice meted out to me by the SGPC,” said Mann when contacted for his reaction on the development in the shrine on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar.

Mann said he had requested Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to allow him to address the gathering over the public address system. “I wanted to voice the opinion of the majority present in the shrine over the public address system. It was in favour of a separate Sikh state, but I was not allowed. The refusal by the SGPC provoked some of my supporters, who moved to the Akal Takht,” he added.

He claimed that his supporters made no move to attack anyone and were moving towards the Akal Takht in a peaceful manner. However, the SGPC Task Force attacked his supporters by swords and ‘lathis’ and dislodged their turbans, he claimed.

“The move of the Task Force angered some of my supporters and they retaliated. It is the SGPC which should be held responsible for the clash,” he added, while pointing out that all past Bluestar commemoration functions attended by him had passed off peacefully even as he had aired his separatist views. When asked about the pro-Khalistan slogans raised inside the Akal Takht, he retorted: “There is nothing wrong in this, as it is from this institution that we seek political guidance.”

The Akal Takht Jathedar had specifically banned political speeches at the Bluestar commemoration function so as to stop it from becoming a “political stage”.

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