Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal stressed the need for observing the martyrdom day of ninth Sikh master Guru Tegh Bahadur at the national level as the three-day celebrations to mark the 350th foundation day of Anandpur Sahib began here on Wednesday.
Addressing the Mata Nanaki Istri Gurmat Sammelan, Badal said Guru Tegh Bahadur had made supreme sacrifice for the religion and religious freedom. Celebrating his martyrdom day at the national level would not only be a humble tribute to the great Sikh guru but would also promote the ethos of secularism and socialism in the country.
The CM said Guru Tegh Bahadur founded Anandpur Sahib where the foundation of socialism and secularism was laid by the Sikh gurus. “Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa panth on this sacred land which proved to be a milestone in forming a casteless and secular society in the country,” he added.
Badal said Punjabis and Sikhs had made great sacrifices during the freedom struggle, for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country and had defended the country from foreign invaders. He, however, lamented that their contributions have not been duly recognised.
He lauded the Istri Akali Dal for organising Mata Nanaki Istri Gurmat Sammelan and said Sikh gurus had always given importance to the role and status of women.
STOP GENDER DISCRIMINATION: HARSIMRAT
Speaking on the occasion, Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal gave a clarion call to stop discrimination against girls. She said this would go a long way in shaping a healthy society and a strong nation. She said women should take the lead in purging gender discrimination from society.
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, Istri Akali Dal president Bibi Jagir Kaur, senior vice-presidents Gurdev Kaur Sangha and Rajwinder Kaur Raju, chief parliamentary secretary Farzana Aalam, MLAs Vaninder Kaur Loomba, Harpreet Kaur Mukhmailpur and former MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan also spoke on the occasion.
CM DEDICATES 81-FOOT ‘KHANDA’
Later, the CM also dedicated the 81-foot “khanda” installed at Panj Piara Park to devotees in the presence of religious leaders and members of Nihang organisations.
Besides Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar, senior Akali leaders Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Daljit Singh Cheema, Balwinder Singh Bhundar and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal were present in the sammelan. However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including local MLA and industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal, were conspicuous by their absence. Mittal was present at the inauguration of the “khanda”.
Meanwhile, religious programmes also kicked off at Gurdwara Bhora Sahib.