A day after Punjab Police claimed to have solved the Bargari case of the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib by arresting two brothers, the hardliners among Sikh politicians and religious preachers have discredited the police theory, decried the arrests as frame-up, and refused to believe that baptised Sikhs can do it.
At a press conference on Wednesday here, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann said that until the ‘bir’ stolen from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village was recovered and subjected to forensic tests to confirm that pages found in Bargari were from it, it was hard to believe the police. “Baptised Sikhs can’t think of desecrating Guru Granth Sahib. The police story has gaps,” he said. Gurdeep Singh of the United Akali Dal (UAD) and Buta Singh of the Shiromani Akali Dal (1920) were with him.
Addressing another press conference, Sikh religious leader Amrik Singh Ajnala of the Damdami Taksal (Ajnala) said all arrested accused were either baptised Sikhs or gurdwara priests, “none of whom could have done it”. He demanded that the case be moved to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to “expose a conspiracy to defame the Sikh community”. Sukhwinder Singh of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha, Sirsa; and Sikh leader Chamkaur Singh Bhairupa accompanied him.
The religious leaders have said the Bargari case accused had been targeted for participating in the protests, though main culprits behind desecration had acted under the Punjab government patronage.
The differences between Sikh hardliners and panthic organisations who led the Kotkapura protest came to the fore when SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann said the role of panthic leader Panthpreet Singh after the police-protester clash at Kotkapura was suspicious, since as soon as a case was registered against him, he had started persuading the agitators to lift road blockades after just three hours each day.
Unification bid fails
The attempts to bring all the factions of Sikh radical leaders panthic organisations on a common platform failed on Wednesday when preacher Panthpreet Singh didn’t come to the meeting in spite of being invited. Simranjit Singh Mann claimed that his group had tried to contact Panthpreet but he had refused to talk. Amrik Singh Ajnala of the Damdami Taksal (Ajnala) also regretted that the meeting could not take place. Hardliner Gurdip Singh and he, however, had their own meeting. Takht Damdama Sahib former high priest Balwant Singh Nandgarh said that unity among Sikh leaders was required to carry on the struggle against desecration.