Senior leaders of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had to face anxious moments when members of radical Sikh groups questioned their stand on “Sikh issues” which at “one time were close to their hearts”.
The occasion was the bhog ceremony of Tirlok Singh, a former member of SAD (Amritsar), held at his native village, Agwan, near Dera Baba Nanak, on Sunday.
Tirlok Singh, who passed away recently, was the father of Satwant Singh, one of the assassins of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
In the presence of Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, the radical leaders reminded the SAD leaders of the eighties “when their senior leaders like Parkash Singh Badal spoke of the alleged atrocities being committed against Sikhs by the then Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi”.
They also pointed to Badal burning copies of the Constitution to register his protest against the central government over non-acceptance of the demands of Punjab.
“Now you seem to have forgotten all such issues which were dear to Sikhs. Now you do not even want to discuss the Anandpur Sahib resolution,” said Dal Khalsa leader HS Dhami while addressing the gathering.
Present on the occasion were chief parliamentary secretary Virsa Singh Valtoha, former MLAs Balbir Singh Baath, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal and Suchha Singh Langah and a few others. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee executive member Rajinder Singh Mehta and Bhai Manjit Singh were also present.
Without referring to the SAD leaders present, Dhami ridiculed them for coming to attend the bhog ceremony of a person who was the father of Satwant Singh, who had been declared a “shaheed of the Sikh community” by the Akal Takht.
“At such gatherings some individuals will talk in glowing terms of the “martyrs” of the “quam” (community) but when they appear before television channels or the print media, they shy away from “even remotely making a mention of those who had given their lives for the sake of the community”, he said.
Another radical leader Dhian Singh Mand also spoke in the same tone, ridiculing the ruling Akali party leaders for giving up the demands that had led to the launching of the ‘dharam yudh morcha’ in the eighties.
Former Akal Takht jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, despite being close to the ruling SAD, also targeted the Akali Dal.
“It was Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale (former head of Damdami Taksal) who had provided the much-needed guidance to the Sikh youth in the early eighties. But now what Bhindranwale stood for has been given up so much so that there is no one to guide our youth on to the path of righteousness,” he said.
The SAD leaders paid tributes to Tirlok Singh.
However, in their speeches, they did make a mention of the “sacrifice” of Satwant Singh.
The occasion was the bhog ceremony of Tirlok Singh, a former member of SAD (Amritsar), held at his native village near Dera Baba Nanak
Radical Sikh groups ridiculed SAD leaders for ‘changing stance’; claim they have sacrificed ‘quam’s interests’ for power
In the presence of Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, radical leaders reminded SAD leaders of the 80s “when leaders like Parkash Singh Badal spoke of the alleged atrocities being committed against Sikhs”