The authority of Sikh institutions has been “denigrated” under the Akali Dal-led regime in Punjab, Congress today said even as it remained non-committal over the issue of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ saying the party does not interfere in religious affairs of the community.
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Monday parried direct reply on the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of Sikhs) scheduled to be held at Amritsar tomorrow by certain section of hardliners and some Sikh organisations.
“Congress is a secular party. It does not interfere in the religious affairs of Sikh community,” he told reporters here.
Over the issue of ‘Sarbat Kahlsa’, Bajwa said, “in the past 10 years both deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal have denigrated the authority of Sikh institutions.”
“The denigration of Sikh institutions has been done allegedly by Sukhbir under the ‘direct patronage’ of RSS... ,” he said.
Referring to the recent developments of incidents of sacrilege and public outrage on top Sikh reverred seats, he alleged that “this all is being done under a tacit understanding with the RSS by Sukhbir.”
On the “flip-flop” of Akal Takht over exoneration of Dera Sacha Sauda sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and events unfolding thereafter like suspension of ‘Panj Pyaras’ (five Sikh religious preachers) and then revocation of their suspension by SGPC, Bajwa said the “RSS is behind it.”
“There is an outrage of public against Badals,” he said adding that ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ is a religious affair purportedly to be held to “minimise the control” of Badals on the Sikh institutions.
On the issue of replacement of Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini with Suresh Arora, he said that “Saini had been made a scapegoat.”
“Responsibilities of all the incidents directly lies with Sukhbir. He can’t run away from the responsibilities,” he said.
Endorsing the Punjab government’s stand to hand over the probe into incidents of sacrilege to the CBI, he said that “the inquiry must be monitored by a judge of Supreme Court or high Court in a time-bound manner.”
Hailing the victory of RJD-JDU-Congress alliance in the Bihar polls, Bajwa said constituting a grand alliance of like minded secular parties against divisive and communal forces is the only way out to throw out BJP from the political sphere of the country.
“The Bihar result is peoples direct reply for the unity and integrity of the country to throw out divisive and fundamental forces,” he said.
He said that in the 2017 assembly polls in Punjab, the idea of grand alliance of like minded parties will be mooted.
On being asked who can be part of proposed grand alliance in 2017 assembly polls, he said that it is too early to answer that.
However, like minded parties will come and fight unitedly against the SAD-BJP combine, he added.
When asked that former chief minister Amarinder Singh sees a direct fight between AAP and Congress at the next hustings, he said that “as the PPCC head I can only say that it will be a group of like minded parties that will contest against Akalis and BJP.”
He said that a high level delegation of Congress under the command of party vice president Rahul Gandhi will soon meet President Pranab Mukherjee seeking judicial probe and fixing responsibility of officers and politicians involved in police firing in Behbal Kalan in Faridkot last month on Sikhs protesting against incidents of sacrilege in which two persons lost their lives.
“The message is clear to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he should work on ground, cut short his visits abroad and stop making propaganda,” he said.
He also castigated Badal for allegedly not taking up issues of the farmers in the state and demanded a bonus of Rs 1,000 per quintal on paddy crop of farmers which is being at present going under procurement process.
“Our struggle for the benefit of farmers and their cause will continue,” Bajwa said.
He said that Punjab is on the verge of break due to poor economic condition of the state.