Dera row: SAD urges Centre to play active role
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Friday demanded that the Central government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should play a "positive and active role" for peaceful solution to the standoff between followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and various Sikh organisations.
"The Centre should come forward...It's a matter of national interest," SAD acting chief Sukhbir Singh Badal told reporters in Chandigarh while reacting to repeated advisories sent by the Centre to Punjab government to ensure peace.
"The Centre and the PM should play a positive and active role to defuse the ongoing crisis," Sukhbir, the son of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said.
"It (the standoff) involves a community that had played a significant role in the building of the nation," he said.
Sukhbir said he was monitoring the situation on hourly basis and stressed that the top priority of the SAD-BJP government was to ensure peace. He also sought cooperation from all political parties in defusing the situation.
He alleged that "whenever terrorism raised its head in any state, the Congress was found behind it...Congress is responsible for terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Punjab which witnessed violence for about two decades."
Asked about the alleged blasphemous act by the head of the Sirsa-based sect, he said, "no Sikh will accept anyone hurting his religious sentiments."
About the Sikh clergy's religious edict demanding vacation of all Deras of the sect by May 27, Sukhbir exuded confidence that a solution would come but added that the edict was binding on all Sikhs.