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No political conferences at Shaheedi Jor Mela this year

SAD cancels its event after Akal Takht directive in the wake of protests by Sikh bodies; Cong, AAP too decide not to hold meets at Fatehgarh Sahib

punjab Updated: Dec 22, 2017 19:15 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Amritsar/Chandigarh
Akal Takht,political conferences,Shaheedi Jor Mela
Giani Gurbachan Singh

There will be no political conferences during the Shaheedi Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib this time as the Akal Takht on Thursday banned such events, saying these do not go well with the somber occasion of martyrdom anniversary of two Sahibzadas (sons) of tenth Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh.

“Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s followers observe martyrdom of Sahibzadas in shock. It is seen that political parties use this day to propagate their agenda and politicise the religious atmosphere.” — Giani Gurbachan Singh, Akal Takht Jathedar

The decision comes in the wake of protests by some Sikh organisations, including Satkar Parchar Committee, at Fatehgarh Sahib for the past two days over the annual slugfest by various parties.

Soon after the directive from the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, the Shiromani Akali Dal cancelled its scheduled event. The Congress also decided against holding any political conference “in view the sanctity of the occasion” while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had already announced not to hold any meet in Fatehgarh Sahib this time.

The martyrdom day falls on December 28, but the political conferences were to be organised on December 26 as the Jor Mela is usually held for three-four days.

Lakhs of devotees throng Fatehgarh Sahib to observe martyrdom of younger Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, who were bricked alive in Sirhind.

However, there were protests against political conferences on the occasion for the first time. A Sikh activist even observed hunger strike at Fatehgarh Sahib and some activists tried to damage the tent installed by the SAD for the event.

Takht communiqué

In a communiqué, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said, “Followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji observe the martyrdom of Sahibzadas in shock and the occasion is very sacred. However, normally it is seen that the political parties use this day to propagate their political agenda and politicise the religious atmosphere.”

“So, all political outfits are strictly directed not to indulge in such political activity. Instead, efforts should be made to preach Sikh history and life events of Gurus on the occasion,” he added.

Will abide by Takht directive: Sukhbir

“The SAD has been abiding by the edict of Akal Takht and it has resolved to cancel the conference,” said party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

A Punjab Congress spokesman said the party has decided not to hold a conference following a discussion between chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and state party president Sunil Jakhar on Thursday. He said the CM felt that the solemn occasion should be observed with “utmost reverence”.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 09:27 IST