With former militant Gurbaksh Singh’s fast-unto-death at Ambala, seeking the release of six militants from jail, entering the 17th day, his supporters and family members reached the holy city on Sunday to put across their viewpoint before Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and warned him that he will be held responsible if former militant dies during the course of the protest. Gurbaksh Singh is sitting on ‘fast-unto-death’ at Gurdwara Lakhnoor Sahib near Ambala in Haryana.
Worried about his deteriorating health, his son Jujahar Singh, along with 25 of his well-wishers, reached here to make a “final appeal” to the jathedar to get the six militants released as demanded by Gurbaksh Singh.
However, as Giani Gurbachan Singh was away in Muktsar, they handed over a memorandum addressed to the jathedar at the Akal Takht secretariat, after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple.
Though the memorandum did not list the names of the militants whose release was being demanded, it clearly stated that the jathedar had made a commitment to Gurbaksh Singh in this regard on December 27 last year.
The jathedar had then assured them that he would secure the release of Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmit Singh and Shamsher Singh, who are under detention in Chandigarh's Burail Jail in the Beant Singh assassination case. The others in the list are Lal Singh, who is in a Gujarat prison; Waryam Singh, who is in the Bareilly jail; and Gurdeep Singh, who has been in the Gulbarga jail in Karnataka for the past 20 years.
Gurbaksh Singh had earlier sat on ‘fast-unto-death’ at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Mohali on November 14 last year, demanding the release of the six militants. Accompanied by his supporters, he had marched to Amritsar for a meeting with the jathedar on December 27. It was on the assurance given by the Akal Takht head for securing the release of the six militants that Gurbaksh Singh had ended his fast.
In August this year, the former militant had threatened that he would go on ‘fast-unto-death’ again, while accusing the jathedar of betraying the Sikh community.
MEMO CRITICISES JATHEDAR
The memorandum reminded Giani Gurbachan Singh of his December 27 assurance, saying it has remained unfulfilled so far and the six militants continued to be behind bars. The memorandum was signed by nine supporters of the former militant.
“Gurbaksh Singh ended his fast-unto-death (on December 27) after your (jathedar) assurance. But he is feeling let down as you have not only betrayed him but also betrayed the quam,” stated the memorandum addressed to the jathedar.
The former militant’s supporters told the media that if the jathedar was so helpless and cannot secure the release of the militants, then he should quit from his post. They demanded that the jathedar issue a directive to the Punjab government for securing the release of the six militants.
“Only you can save Gurbaksh Singh's life by fulfilling his demand. But if anything happens to him (if he dies) then you will squarely be responsible”, the memorandum added.
Meanwhile, none of the radical Sikh groups came forth to lend support Gurbaksh Singh's supporters. In December last year, the Dal Khalsa, the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Akali Dal (Panj Pradhani) had backed the former militant though they did not approve of the hunger strike he undertook. These groups do not approve of the method being used by the former militant as Sikhs never resort to fasts or hunger strikes as a form of protest.