Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla on Tuesday described as “unfortunate” the reported statement of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, in which he had criticised her party colleague and former MP Navjot Singh Sidhu for performing a ‘havana’ at his newly-constructed house here on Monday.
As per reports rife in a section of media, the jathedar has questioned Sidhu’s right of calling himself a ‘Sikh’ and performing a ritual not associated with the Sikhism. The jathedar advised Sidhu to desist from such rituals as this could encourage other members of the Sikh community to follow in his footsteps.
Sidhu along with his MLA wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu had performed a ‘havana’ at his newly constructed house on Monday, though they are yet to move into the house.
Reacting sharply to Gurbachan Singh’s view, Chawla, in a letter addressed to the jathedar and released to the media here on Tuesday, sought to remind him of the country’s secular fabric, where all religions are respected by all.
She also reminded him of a large number of non-Sikhs paying obeisance each day at the Harmandir Sahib and partaking in ‘amrit’ (holy water) from its ‘sarowar’ (pool of nectar).
“Don’t a large number of Hindu families hold ‘akhand paath’ and recite Guru Granth Sahib at functions in their homes. Does this disqualify all these families from calling themselves as Hindus or can they be accused of working against the Hindu ‘dharam,” she sought to know.
She also pointed out that when Guru Gobind Singh founded the ‘Khalsa’, he baptised the ‘panj payaras’, all of whom were Hindus.
In her letter, she appealed to the jathedar to desist from expressing such viewpoints that could threaten the unity and communal harmony of the Indian society.
She reminded the jathedar of a verse in ‘Gurbani’ — “Ek Pita Ekas Ke Hum Baarik (We are all children of the same god).”