The Akal Takht feels the prevailing political scenario in the country is ideally suited to Sikhs to seek the release of all Sikh detainees (pertaining to period of militancy) who have completed their jail sentences and also to find a permanent solution to Article 25 (b) of the Constitution, which clubs Sikhs with Hindus, a view not acceptable to Sikhs.
“As Sikhs have played a pivotal role in the formation of the government (central), we must not let this opportunity slip out of our hands. We must put forward all our demands and concerns before this government,” Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said in a statement issued here on World Human Rights Day on Wednesday.
Endorsing the views of a section of the community against Article 25 (b), the jathedar said he fully supported the viewpoint that Sikhs are a separate community and could not be clubbed with Hindus.
“However, for getting our viewpoint endorsed, the entire ‘quam’ must unite on one platform. All Sikh MPs must explain this viewpoint in Parliament to secure the support of members of other communities and then only will we succeed,” he added.
PUNJAB GOVERNMENT IS ‘DOING ITS BIT’
The jathedar endorsed the demand by former militant Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, who is on a fast-unto-death at a gurdwara near Ambala. He is seeking the release of all Sikh detainees who have been behind bars since the days of militancy and most of whom have completed their prison sentences.
The jathedar indicated that the Akal Takht had come in support of Gurbaksh Singh when he had started his hunger strike at Mohali in November last year.
“We appreciated his stand when on our assurance he ended his protest. We are with him even now and assure him that his demand for the release of Sikh youths from prison has been taken up with the government,” he said.
The jathedar, however, chose to remind the former militant that while ending his hunger strike last year, Gurbaksh had given an assurance that in future he would resort to a legal battle for securing the release of those who had completed their sentences. The jathedar reminded him of his undertaking as Sikhism disapproved of fasts and hunger strikes, as such forms of protest are linked to weak personalities and not acceptable in Sikhism.
Without issuing an appeal to Gurbaksh to end his hunger strike, the jathedar claimed that the Punjab government was “doing its bit” to secure the release of Sikh youths. He also called upon the state government to double its efforts on this issue “before it gets too late”.