Sikh hardliners denied nod to hold ‘sarbat khalsa’; Simranjit Mann approaches HC over crackdown

Punjab police have detained senior leaders and activists of radical Sikh organisations ahead of their planned ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ congregation, officials said on Wednesday. Among those detained were Gurdeep Singh, Parminder Singh and 30 others from Bathinda district. Raids were being conducted to round up other radical leaders as well.

punjab Updated: Dec 07, 2016 22:15 IST
Punjab police,Radical Sikh,Sarbat Khalsa
Police deployed on the Talwandi Sabo road near Bathinda on Tuesday after Sikh radicals started prayers ahead of their December 8 ‘Sarbat Khalsa’.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Apprehending that Thursday’s “sarbat khalsa” (congregation of Sikhs) planned by Sikh radicals in Talwandi Sabo would disturb peace in the state, the Bathinda district administration on Wednesday denied permission to the event.

“The permission has been denied as the Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) has apprehended law and order problem if such an event is organised,” deputy commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said. The high court had on Monday asked the DC for his views on the scheduled congregation after the organisers moved the court apprehending that the government would deny them the permission.

Meanwhile, speaking on the sidelines of a “sangat darshan” at Tohra village in Patiala, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said the government won’t allow Sikh radicals to hold “sarbat khalsa” as it might vitiate the hard-earned peace in the state.

“A handful of self-styled leaders are hell bent upon holding sarbat khalsa for hatching conspiracies to derail the process of development and peace in the state and push it back into turbulent times. The state government cannot not allow these divisive forces to hold the congregation,” the CM said.

At the same time, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann moved the Punjab and Haryana high court in Chandigarh again alleging the police detained some of his supporters when they were on their way to meet the Bathinda deputy commissioner. Simranjit said they had gone to the administration on Tuesday to seek permission for holding “sarbat khalsa”. He alleged that among those picked up by police were one Parminder Singh Balianwal. He further alleged that more than 200 persons had been arrested or detained by the police, including a “granthi”.

Justifying the administration’s move, the Bathinda DC said a similar event was organised in November last year where Sikh radicals delivered provocative speeches and raised pro- Khalistan slogans. “Such an event will scare the minorities, besides raising the chances of halting the state’s development. There is also a possibility of confrontation between radical elements which can create law and order problem,” the DC quoted the SSP in his three-page report.

Citing the recent Nabha jailbreak case, Dinanagar and Pathankot terror attacks, the DC said some agencies were funding separatist and radical elements in Punjab to disturb the peace.

The organisers did not cooperate and distributed posters and pamphlets before getting the permission from the administration, the DC said.

First Published: Dec 07, 2016 18:44 IST