On the day when SAD and Congress leaders were busy holding high-stake rallies in Patiala and Bathinda, respectively, Sikh hardliners, under the leadership of Simranjit Singh Mann, assembled at Bargari village gurdwara on Tuesday and attended a ‘bhog’ (religious function) held in the memory of two Bebal Kalan firing victims.
Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Gurjeet Singh were killed in alleged police firing on October 14.
The function was largely attended by radicals , who raised the demand of a separate statehood and also shouted pro-Khalistan slogans. No Sikh preacher was present at the function.
While addressing the gathering, different speakers criticised the SAD government over sacrilege incidents and said the people should only follow the diktats of the newly appointed Takht jathedars at radical Sarbat Khalsa.
While Mann, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president, pressed for a separate Sikh state, his speech also focused on “religious intolerance” in India. He mentioned about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, demolition of Babri mosque and the 2002 Godhra riots.
“I am not against any Hindu, they are my friends, but I am talking about religious intolerance. We shall continue to strive for Khalistan and until it is not set up, the Sikh religion is not safe,” Mann said.
Criticising the clout of religious deras in Punjab, the SAD (A) chief said: “It is harming the Sikh religion.”
Mann said the function has been organised to take stock of the situation and see whether justice has been delivered to victims’ families.
Regarding sacrilege incidents, radicals claimed the state government has handed over the inquiry to the CBI to save its face.
“The identification of police officers who opened fire in Behbal Kalan, is not difficult as all ammunition and arms are handed over to cops after proper entries are made in the official record,’ they said.
Police had made tight security arrangements to check any untoward incident during the event.