The supporters of Surat Singh Khalsa, who has been on a hunger strike since January demanding the release of Sikh detainees, on Monday appealed to Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to withdraw' the 'Panth Rattan, Fakr-e-Quam' honour that was bestowed on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The Akal Takht had bestowed this title or honour on Badal in 2011 in recognition of his services to the Sikh 'panth' (community).
The supporters of Khalsa under the banner of, 'Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa Sangarsh Committee', met the Jathedar in his office here on Monday. They forwarded a memorandum to him in which they made this demand, referring to the Chief Minister as an enemy (dushman) of the Sikh 'panth'.
They have set August 30 as the deadline for withdrawing this honour and threatened that if their demand was not met then, " the 'quam' will itself issue a directive announcing the withdrawal of the honour ".
Those who met the Jathedar included Surjit Singh Kalabala, SGPC member, Jarnail Singh Sakhira and Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singhwala, both of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Harbir Singh Sandhu and Gurdip Singh Bathinda.
"We have the highest regard for the Akal Takht and have always been ready to submit to its dictates. At critical junctures, the 'quam' always looks to the Akal Takht for guidance", the memorandum stated.
The memorandum described Badal as a " dushman of the Sikh quam", holding him responsible for the "degradation of Sikh values". The memorandum claimed that as chief minister he had taken no worthwhile steps to secure the release of Sikh detainees who have behind bars for a very long and for whose release Surat Singh Khalsa had gone on hunger strike.
The memorandum held Badal responsible for the rise in the number of drug addiction cases in Punjab as he did not take stern measures to check drug smuggling into the state.
"IF you do not withdraw this honour then you will be insulting those 'panthic' stalwarts who were bestowed with this high honour earlier", the memorandum stated.
The Jathedar refused to comment on the contents of the memorandum or on the demand of the Sangarsh Committee.