Around 2,500 Sikhs including a handful of women from adjoining villages managed to sneak into the sarbat khalsa venue in Talwandi Sabo on Thursday morning despite heavy police presence.
The Punjab police had laid nakas around the entire Talwandi Sabo town, sealing all roads leading to the venue, after the district administration on Wednesday denied permission for ‘sarbat khalsa’ (congregation of Sikhs) apprehending trouble. They kept tricking in, shouting slogans of “Jo bole so nihal, sat sri akal”. The recital of Guru Granth Sahib (akand Path) continued at the venue.
Apprehending that Thursday’s “sarbat khalsa” (congregation of Sikhs) planned by Sikh radicals in Talwandi Sabo would disturb peace in the state, the Bathinda district administration on Wednesday denied permission to the event.
Earlier, “The permission has been denied as the Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) has apprehended law and order problem if such an event is organised,” deputy commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said. The high court had on Monday asked the DC for his views on the scheduled congregation after the organisers moved the court apprehending that the government would deny them the permission.
Meanwhile, speaking on the sidelines of a “sangat darshan” at Tohra village in Patiala, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said the government won’t allow Sikh radicals to hold “sarbat khalsa” as it might vitiate the hard-earned peace in the state.
“A handful of self-styled leaders are hell bent upon holding sarbat khalsa for hatching conspiracies to derail the process of development and peace in the state and push it back into turbulent times. The state government cannot not allow these divisive forces to hold the congregation,” the CM said.
Justifying the administration’s move, the Bathinda DC said a similar event was organised in November last year where Sikh radicals delivered provocative speeches and raised pro- Khalistan slogans. “Such an event will scare the minorities, besides raising the chances of halting the state’s development. There is also a possibility of confrontation between radical elements which can create law and order problem,” the DC quoted the SSP in his three-page report.
Citing the recent Nabha jailbreak case, Dinanagar and Pathankot terror attacks, the DC said some agencies were funding separatist and radical elements in Punjab to disturb the peace.
The organisers did not cooperate and distributed posters and pamphlets before getting the permission from the administration, the DC said.
Meanwhile, police continued its crackdown on radicals across the state by taking them in preventive custody, officials said.
Police also sealed the 10-acre field, the venue for “sarbat khalsa” in Talwandi Sabo. However, 15 activists of the SAD (Amritsar) and the United Akali Dal managed to sneak into the venue in the wee hours of Wednesday. “We are organising akhand paath and nobody from outside is allowed enter the venue,” SAD (Amritsar) general secretary Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala told HT over phone.