Facing public outrage over desecration of the Sikh holy book, the Akali workers and jathedars have drawn some support from an unusual quarter - Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh - who on Monday asked people not to punish them “for the sins of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal”.
“Don’t vent your anger against the Badals on the common Akali workers and ordinary jathedars, who are feeling as aggrieved and victimised as any other Punjabi, and want us to get Punjab rid of the Badals. Vent it at the time of elections, which are not very far,” he asked people in a statement issued here, expressing concern for the safety of Akali workers and leaders across the state.
He accused the CM of leaving all Akali workers at the mercy of angry mobs. “I’m getting distress calls from across the state, from Akali workers, jathedars and sarpanchs who say they fear for their lives, with nobody there to listen to and protect them,” said Amarinder, questioning why the Badal family is avoiding political events these days.
“Since Badal has kept the entire power with himself, the common Akali workers and jathedars are as helpless as anybody else, and have no role in what is happening in Punjab today,” he told the protesters. Appealing for peace and restraint, the former CM said Badal had de-facto control of the SGPC and the Akal Takht and “allowed hardly any freedom to people managing these great institutions”.
“When the SGPC president and the Akal Takht jathedar have been rendered powerless, we can well imagine the plight of the common Akali workers and jathedars,” he said, adding, “it is wrong to make them pay for the sins of Badal.”