Despite objections from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a group of Sikh radicals raised anti-national slogans at the conclusion of a 'bhog' ceremony of Dilawar Singh - the human bomb that killed former chief minister Beant Singh on this day of 1995 outside the Civil Secretariat at Chandigarh.
The bhog ceremony was held at the Akal Takht and as soon as it concluded a couple of people sitting there raised pro-Khalistan slogans. SGPC 'sewadars' present on the occasion requested them not to raise slogans, but to no avail. However, the sloganeering was brief and the crowd dispersed peacefully.
The ceremony was organised at the instance of the parents of Dilawar Singh. Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh stayed away from the ceremony so did SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar and his senior officials.
The ceremony was attended by activists of the Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and a couple of youngsters, who were not aligned to any group. The SGPC had made elaborate security arrangements, as it did not want another repeat of the unsavory happenings that had occurred during the Operation Bluestar anniversary on June 6.
At the end of the ceremony, the brother of Dilawar Singh was honoured with a 'siropa' (robe of honour) by Giani Jagtar Singh, head granthi of Harmandir Sahib.
No speeches were allowed on the occasion.
'Oppose RSS designs to brand Sikhs as Hindus'
Meanwhile, the Dal Khalsa called upon all Sikhs to oppose the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) attempts to brand Sikhs as Hindus. During a seminar here, the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat describing those residing in 'Hindustan' as 'Hindus' was discussed by speakers.
Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said Sikhs were a separate community and people like Bhagwat should refrain from making such comments.
He criticised the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership for striking an alliance with Hindutva forces. He said it was the Akali leadership that had allowed the RSS and the BJP to have a field day in Punjab.
"The Congress harmed the Sikhs physically by getting hundreds killed during the 1984 riots, but the BJP was hitting at the roots and foundations of the Sikh religion," he added.
Prof Jagmohan Singh, a human rights activist, spoke on the role of the youth in shaping the present and future of the Sikh community.
The seminar also passed a resolution: "Sikhism is a separate and independent religion and Sikhs are not a part of Hinduism, as they have their own distinct identity."