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Cancelled gurdwara visit in Karnal village due to Bhindranwale’s portrait: Haryana CM

The CM undertook a day-long visit to 13 ‘tiraths’ (pilgrimage sites) in Karnal, his constituency, on Friday. In addition to these sites, he was scheduled to visit the gurdwara in Dachar village.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2018 10:51 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Karnal
gurdwara,Haryana CM,Khalistan ideologue
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar (HT File )

Faced with criticism from Sikhs for skipping his visit to a gurdwara in Dachar village of Karnal on Friday, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has clarified that he cancelled the visit as the gurdwara management refused to remove a portrait of Khalistan ideologue Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale installed in the langar hall.

“I had earlier allotted time to visit the gurdwara, but later we came to know about Bhindrawale’s photo there. They (gurdwara management) were asked to remove it, but they refused to do so, following which I cancelled my visit,” Khattar told mediapersons here on Saturday.

The CM undertook a day-long visit to 13 ‘tiraths’ (pilgrimage sites) in Karnal, his constituency, on Friday. In addition to these sites, he was scheduled to visit the gurdwara in Dachar village.

On the gurdwara management’s argument that the portrait was installed several years ago, he said, “It doesn’t matter when it was installed. We appealed them to remove it and they didn’t do so.”

Regarding the protest by agitated Sikhs in the village after cancellation of his visit to the gurdwara, the CM said, “Law will take its own course if someone takes it into their own hands.” The protesters had vandalised a fire brigade vehicle in the village and an FIR was registered against about 50 unknown people.

The CM, who visited the Dera Kar Sewa here on Saturday, said he has conveyed his “message” to the members of the Sikh community.

Sikhs hold meeting

On the other hand, local Sikhs later held a meeting in the Dera Kar Sewa on Saturday and demanded that the CM apologise in the village gurdwara, failing which they will boycott the BJP.

“We have decided to boycott the BJP and its leaders, including chief minister, ministers and MLAs, until the CM apologises”, said Janpal Singh, president of the gurdwara committee of Dachar village.

Talking to mediapersons, Baba Sukha Singh of Gurdwara Kar Sewa, who chaired the meeting, said, “The decision to boycott BJP leaders was taken unanimously in the meeting.”

Janpal said they have called another meeting in Dachar village on October 6. “If the CM doesn’t apologise till then, we may boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Karnal on November 1.”

The controversy

The members of gurdwara committee had claimed on Friday that they were told by the district administration last week that the CM will visit the gurdwara in the village at around 1.30 pm on Friday and also partake langar there.

“We were told to remove the statue of Khalistan ideologue Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale on Friday morning, but we refused to do so, saying this could lead to tension in the village. However, the authorities did not inform us that the CM will not visit if we will not remove the statue,” Janpal said.

“We prepared langar for about 1,000 people, including sugar-free kheer for the CM as instructed by the authorities. But at the last moment, the CM’s visit was cancelled and he left after paying obeisance at a temple near the gurdwara,” he added.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 10:49 IST