SGPC resolution says RSS suppressing religious freedom in Hindu Rashtra bid
AMRITSAR In a first, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) General House on Tuesday passed a resolution against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), alleging that it is attempting to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu country).
To date, SGPC office-bearers had been issuing individual statement criticising the RSS, but its general House had not passed such a resolution. Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, who was present in the session as per protocol, has also in the past sought a ban on the RSS, claiming, “The RSS’ aim of a Hindu Rashtra is against the country’s interests.”
The SGPC move comes five months after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which controls the apex gurdwara body, parted ways with the BJP. The saffron party is one of the affiliates of the RSS and leads the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.
Passed during the budget session of the SGPC, the resolution reads, “India is a multi-religious, multilingual and multi-ethnic country. Its beauty is that the constitution gives equality to all faiths... and every religion has made great contribution to its freedom, especially the Sikh community, which has made more than 80% sacrifices. Sadly, for a long time now, freedom of other religions has been suppressed in the wake of the RSS’s attempts to make the country a Hindu Rashtra. Minorities are being intimidated and frightened through direct and indirect unnecessary interference into their faith.”
“Such attempts were made in the 17th century by the Mughal Empire, which the Gurus strongly opposed. The ninth Sikh Master, Guru Tegh Bahadur, in particular made sacrifices to repulse attacks on the Hindu religion and set a distinct example in the religious history of the world,” the resolution says.
The SGPC resolution states, “Today’s general session cautions the Government of India that...it should respect sentiments of followers of every religion and rein in elements, which attempt to suppress the voice of minorities. Religious rights of every religion’s followers must protected.”
SIX YEARS AFTER BARGARI SACRILEGE,
PASSES RESOLUTION AGAINST IT
On suggestions of SGPC members from the opposition, president Bibi Jagir Kaur allowed the passing of a resolution condemning the 2015 Bargari sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and sought exemplary punishment for the perpetrators.
The resolution, passed six years after the incident, has sought strict punishment for accused police officers. In another resolution, the SGPC sought a unique monument for the ninth Guru and large-scale development of historic sites related to him. The day of martyrdom of the ninth Guru should be celebrated as ‘Religious Tolerance Day’.
A resolution of appreciation was also passed with regards to the recognition of the identity of Sikh religion ‘Nishan Sahib’ as the ‘Sikh Flag Day’ to be marked on March 11 in the Connecticut state of the USA. All resolutions were passed unanimously. The two-hour budget session was conducted without any disturbance or verbal spats as the president allowed all to express their views.
Honourary chief secretary Harjinder Singh Dhami conducted the stage. Prominent among those who spoke from the dais were Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Simajit Singh Bains, Kiranjot Kaur and Bhai Gurpreet Singh Randhawa Wale.
In a major setback to the opposition Congress, which aims at returning to power in Himachal in the upcoming assembly elections, two of its MLAs Pawan Kajal and Lakhwinder Singh Rana joined the BJP on Wednesday. A two-term legislator who represents Kangra, Pawan Kajal, was also the working president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee. Both the defector MLAs were expelled from Congress for six years for anti-party activities after they joined the BJP.
Two months on, police have been unable to trace persons behind the threat calls to Jalandhar West MLA Sheetal Angural. MLA Angural had allegedly received threat calls from two unknown numbers, bearing a picture of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, for eight to 10 days starting June 16. Though the callers did not ask him for money, they repeatedly told him to resign while stating that if he stayed on as MLA, his family would be killed.
A 24-year-old woman on Tuesday died by suicide after giving poison to her two young children In Udham Singh Nagar district. Police said it is not clear why the woman decided to die by suicide or kill two of her three children. She later met another man and started living with him. A month back, she gave birth to her third child. Police said she allegedly consumed poison when the man had gone to work.
The Congress on Wednesday hailed Bihar's new 31-minister government under the 'grand alliance', and said the leaders of the state emerged on top despite the Bharatiya Janata party's intimidation attempts. On Tuesday, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet by inducting 31 ministers, days after he and his deputy Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav took oath. BJP spokespersons were unavailable to comment on the matter.
Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Harbola, the soldier whose body was found in a bunker 38 years after he went missing on the Siachen Glacier, was cremated with full military honours at Haldwani in Uttarakhand's Nainital district on Wednesday. Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, sainik welfare minister Ganesh Joshi and women empowerment minister Rekha Arya met his wife, Shanti Devi, 63, to convey their condolences and pay homage to the soldier before the last rites.