Rural development and panchayats minister Sikander Singh Maluka on Wednesday apologised for ‘imitation’ of ardas to recite hymns from Hindu scriptures at an event organised to open his election office in Rampura Phul on Monday. The minister had come under fire of the Akal Takht (highest temporal seat of Sikhs) after video of the ceremony went viral on the social media.
“I apologise if I have committed a mistake out of ignorance or lack of knowledge. I will appear before the Akal Takht as and when summoned and will accept its order. I request the jathedars (high priests) to guide me on this (the version of ardas recited at the event) so that communal harmony is not affected,” he said in a statement.
Maluka said after the ardas, he had enquired from the priest if it was in practice or was recited for the first time. “The priest told me that the ardas was in vogue and has a mention in Hindu scriptures also,” Maluka said.
He said the ardas was being recited for many years and neither Akal Takht nor any one from the Sikh intelligentsia took note of it. He said the controversy on this might be aimed at defaming the Akali Dal for votes.
Meanwhile, Hardeep Singh of Mehraj village, a leader of Dal Khalsa, who lodged a police complaint in this regard, said he had been assured by the police of action in two days and if the same doesn't happen by Thursday, they will contemplate launching a stir. He said he would also write to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, requesting him to cancel Maluka’s ticket as a SAD candidate from Rampura Phul.
Bathinda SSP Swapan Sharma said police were taking the legal opinion as to how to go ahead with the complaint.
Meanwhile, Hindu religious organisations which were part of the event in a release said that the Ramayana path recitation was done by Ramayana Prachar Mandal Rampura Phul. “The ardas is being recited for past many years and has a mention in Hindu scriptures,” said the release adding that they were ready to give explanation to responsible persons in this regard.
SGPC FORMS 3-MEMBER PROBE PANEL, REPORT IN 15 DAYS
A day after Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh directed the SGPC to probe and submit a detailed report, gurdwara body chief Kirpal Singh Badungar has formed a three-member probe panel with 15-day deadline to submit a report.
Badungar said, “We got the letter from Akal Takht and have formed a three-member committee. Panel members include SGPC vice-president Baba Buta Singh, general secretary Amarjit Singh Chawla and member Mohan Singh Bangi.”
On Maluka’s apology, Badungar said it was the prerogative of the Akal Takht to decide whether or not to accept the apology. “We, on our part, have formed the panel to get the issue probed,” he said.