Rejecting all resolutions passed by the radical Sarbat Khalsa, including the one for a separate Sikh state, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday swore by “its nationalistic and patriotic credentials”, asserting that a genuine federal structure with more powers to the states would remain the main agenda of the party, Sikhs and Punjab.
A SAD core committee meeting, presided over by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, blamed the Congress for indirectly supporting the radicals’ latest move to declare a set of parallel Sikh head priests, including convicted and jailed terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara as jathedar of Akal Takht. “The old Congress agenda of trying to paint Sikhs as a dangerous community was at work again at the radicals’ congregation,” said a hard-hitting statement issued by the core committee.
“Sikhs take pride in being the sword arm of India and have made immense sacrifices for Independence and defence of the country. The Shiromani Akali Dal, as a representative and spokesman of the nationalist and patriotic sentiments, will remain in the forefront of the defence and the unity and integrity of the country, as also of peace and communal harmony in Punjab,” said the statement.
At the Amritsar congregation on Tuesday, a clutch of radical outfits had endorsed their 1986 resolution for establishing a separate Sikh state, without calling it Khalistan.
Opposing the radicals’ agenda, the core committee said it would expose their designs aimed at isolating and alienating Sikh masses from the national mainstream again. “This is a repetition of the same conspiracy which the Congress had used in the ’80s and ’90s and for which Punjabis, Sikhs in particular, had to pay an extremely unspeakable price. The SAD will ensure that it does not succeed,” it said.
It said the congregation was a direct outcome of the conspiracy and complicity of the anti-Panthic Congress party.
It also dubbed the congregation as an attempt to scare away investment from Punjab and block fresh employment opportunities for the youth.
The resolutions, the SAD said, were also an attempt to “undo the sacrifices in Nankana Sahib and the Jaitu morcha”.
The SAD core committee said that slamming Badal at the congregation was an old ploy to weaken the SAD and Sikhs. The committee said it accepted such a challenge on Badal’s behalf. “Capt Amarinder Singh tried it in 2002 and failed,” it added.