Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu on Tuesday opposed the decision of the radical Sarbat Khalsa of ‘appointing’ Jagtar Singh Hawara as the Akal Takht jathedar, adding that the radical congregation was originally aimed at challenging the Badals’ supremacy but had taken a turn that was detrimental for the state’s secular fabric.
Bittu, the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh who was assassinated by Hawara, said his grandfather sacrificed his life for bringing peace to the state but the prevailing circumstances clearly pointed to disruption of law and order. It is a “secularism versus fundamentalism” and “tolerance versus intolerance” situation and it is up to the people as to who they wanted to side with, Bittu said.
“How can one justify giving the reins of the Akal Takht to a dreaded terrorist like Hawara as he acted against the tenets of Sikhism, which preach love and harmony, and not hatred,” Bittu wondered.
Gurkirat Kotli, Congress MLA from Khanna, the younger grandson of Beant Singh, also criticised the appointment, saying such moves would again take Punjab back to the dark days, which people of Punjab didn’t want at any cost. “Unfortunately, the Akal Takht is being used by radical groups for their vested interests. Politics and religion should not be mixed, which the Badals have tried to do, and the result is before us,” Kotli said.
Talking about the gathering at the radical congregation, Kotli said it was the resentment of people against the Badals minus religious affiliations.