Nothing wrong in raising demand for Khalistan: SGPC president
Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), said on Thursday that “as per a Supreme Court ruling, there is nothing wrong in raising the demand for Khalistan”, a separate Sikh nation, and that “it is neither unconstitutional nor an offence”.
Even as he belongs to Parkash Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — considered moderate in the Sikh religio-political sphere — Badungar made this statement while replying to a query on “terrorist” tag used by some racist opponents against the newly elected Sikh mayor of Hoboken city in the US, Ravinder Singh Bhalla.
He was apparently referring to the SC verdict in a case about two men having shouted some slogans in Chandigarh after assassination of Indira Gandhi in Delhi in 1984. The court had held that mere shouting of slogans did not amount to sedition unless there was incitement to violence.
When specifically asked to comment on some Sikh leaders living abroad being termed “Khalistanis”, he referred to movements going on in other parts of the world: “Irish people have been fighting against England. Similarly, we can consider the conflict between South Korea and North Korea. The conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims in as many as 37 countries is another instance... This is not only an issue about Sikhs, but also of others.”
He added the SGPC will welcome and honour Bhalla when he visits the Golden Temple. To a query on an identity confusion faced by Sikhs abroad, he said, “Canada has a Sikh defence minister and many parliamentarians. In a country like Canada, the identity problem should not rise.”
He also reacted to an alleged hate speech by Amritsar-based Hindu right-wing leader Sudhir Suri, he said, “Such people want to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab... It is the responsibility of the state government to rein in these elements.”