The matter of putting Khalistan on the agenda for the Sarbat Khalsa (open deliberative assembly) called on November 10 in Amritsar has divided the Sikh organisations.
At a press conference addressed by various Sikh leaders who attended the meeting here on Saturday, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, announced separate homeland for Sikhs as top item on the congregation’s agenda but failed to get support of the other senior leaders present. “The revolution is at its peak now. Separate state for Sikhs is the core issue of the community,” said Mann.
When asked for his views on it, Sikh preacher Daljeet Singh Daduwal passed the mike to United Akali Dal (UAD) president Bhai Mohkam Singh, who said the congregation was called to find out solutions to the current Sikh problems “of the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, decreasing sanctity of the high institutions, reducing of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to a political tool, and the SGPC’s playing into the hands of one family”. He did not mention the Khalistan issue.
Mann clarified that all Sikh-related issues would be discussed under democratic principles and all decisions at the Sarbat Khalsa would be “taken in a democratic way”. “The Sikh leaders not coming to the congregation would be supporting the Badals indirectly,” he added. About uncertainty over the participation of Sikh preachers Bhai Panthpreet Singh and Ranjit Singh Dhadarianwale, Bhai Mokham Singh clarified he had the letter that both had signed to support Sarbat Khalsa.
“All Sikh preachers are in our touch, and most of them will join us. Many did not attend Saturday’s meeting, since till Friday night, they were busy in the protest in SAS Nagar,” said Daduwal. The meeting’s organisers said more than 35 Sikh organizations were represented, but the attendance was way thinner. The next meeting to plan the programme is on November 4.
The issue of calling Sarbat Khalsa has not met with good response from Sikh scholars, who are not happy with the event’s name. In the meeting held before in Chandigarh, Many suggested that the event be renamed. Sarbat Khalsa is rare and called only by religious authorities during times of deep crisis for the faith.