Pardoning Sirsa dera chief was wrong decision: Parminder Singh Dhindsa
Says party leaders will approach dera followers individually to seek votes
In a significant statement, Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s son and former Akali minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on Friday described the Akal Takht’s move to grant pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the blasphemy case as a wrong decision.
The dera chief was pardoned by the Akal Takht on September 24, 2015 in the 2007 blasphemy case. The decision was revoked later after massive backlash from Sikh organisations.
Responding to media queries after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple here, Dhindsa said, “The party feels it was a wrong decision. But I think this issue should not to be raised time and again. Also, there is no use of carrying on the debate over the issue.”
“There is no government which does not take any wrong decision,” added Dhindsa, who is set to be fielded by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat even as his father has advised him not to contest the polls on the SAD ticket as the party “faces public anger.”
After resigning from the SAD, his father had demanded the removal of the then Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh for pardoning Ram Rahim, a controversial move that caused resentment among the Sikh community, which was directed by the Takht through a ‘hukamnana’ in 2007 to boycott the dera.
The Badal family, which is on the helm of the affairs of the Akali Dal and wields influence on the Sikh clergy, is alleged to have played a role in granting pardon to the dera chief.
ON SEEKING DERA FOLLOWERS’ VOTES
Asked if the SAD needs votes of dera followers in the Lok Sabha elections, Dhindsa Junior said, “Though we are not supposed to visit the dera as per our party’s stand, everyone has the right to personally approach any individual, irrespective of his faith, caste and section, during the polls. Approaching dera followers individually is also part of our duty and we will definitely do so.”
Notably, Parminder Dhindsa was among the leaders of various parties who were declared ‘tankhaiya’ by the Akal Takht for seeking support from the Sirsa dera in the last assembly elections, despite the 2007 hukamnama. He and other leaders had to undergo ‘tankha’ (religious punishment) at the Golden Temple.
‘TRUTH ON SACRILEGE PROBE COMING OUT’
On the sacrilege incidents in the state, Dhindsa said, “The truth of the issue is coming out gradually. The Congress and other political parties tried to spread false propaganda against the SAD. They way the matter is being investigated and the probe is being politicised, people are coming to know the truth.”
Asked whether he will contest from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, he said, “Though I’m not keen on contesting the polls, I will definitely do so if the party wants me to.”