Terming the call for “Sarbat Khalsa” (Sikh congregation) on November 10 (Tuesday) as a direct challenge to the Akal Takht, the top-rung leaders of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday asked Sikhs to reject the “anti-Panthic and anti-Punjab” forces trying to divide the community.
At a joint press conference on Sunday here, SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, members of Parliament Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Balwinder Singh Bhundar, and education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said the “Sarbat Khalsa” was aimed at destroying the principles of ‘Miri-Piri’ and would only take the state back to the turbulent times.
“It was clear from the recent events that some vested interests were exploiting Sikh sentiments arising out of the ghastly incidents of sacrilege planned and executed by anti-national forces. People should not play into their hands,” said Dhindsa. The Akali leaders considered the “Sarbat Khalsa” against the interest of Punjabis, who required the hard-earned peace to stay.
Stressing that the Akal Takth was supreme, the Akali leaders appealed to the congregation’s organisers not to do anything to harm the great institution. “Sikhs have protected this institution from various conquerors who wanted to destroy Sikhism by targeting the Akal Takht. The community has always stood united against oppressors. Now some Sikhs have taken upon themselves to weaken the community. They should desist from these designs and repose trust in the Akal Takht,” reads their joint statement.
They asked the community and the state’s people to consider the history of the organizers of the so-called “Sarbat Khalsa”. “They who violate the ‘maryada’ (code) required for holding this Sikh congregation and who in the past practiced divisive politics and preached hatred, have no place in the present-day Punjab that wants peace and progress,” the statement added. Dr Cheema said the Punjab government was maintaining peace and communal harmony in face of grave provocations by “anti-Punjab forces”.
The minister said the government had appointed a judicial commission to look into all the sacrilege incidents, formed a special investigation team (SIT), and even moved the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).