Radical Sikh leader Simranjit Singh Mann has said that Sikhs “cannot” chant the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ (Hail, Mother India) as “Sikhs don’t worship women in any form”. He added, “According to the BJP, one who doesn’t say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is not a patriot and can be tried for sedition... Sikhs should say ‘Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh’.”
He further added that the BJP must know that Sikhs “can’t say” ‘Vande Matram’ either. “Also, Hindu religious scriptures like the Geeta should not be imposed on people from other religions as has been done in BJP-ruled Haryana,” said Mann, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is a known proponent of the idea of a separate Sikh nation of Khalistan. He was talking to the media after meeting two activists of his party Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) at the Bathinda central jail.
The issue of the slogan came into the limelight after MLA Waris Pathan of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) refused to say the words upon a demand by a BJP legislator in the Maharashtra assembly, and was thrown out; Pathan instead was ready to chant ‘Jai Hind’.