Ruchika M. Khanna:
Chandigarh: Rattled at the turn of events at the Sarbat Khalsa called in Amritsar and the secessionist agenda pronounced there, the Shiromani Akali Dal went into a huddle on Wednesday to deliberate on radicals’ nomination of ‘jathedars’ to head three important ‘takhts’ of Sikhism.
The core committee of the SAD fully rejected the resolutions passed by the Sikh congregation at Chabba on Tuesday, claiming that these were not the ‘voice of the people’, rather just a declaration by ‘radicals’, which cannot be considered a decision of the Sarbat Khalsa (entire Sikh community).
While the party leaders blamed the Congress for siding with the radicals, they drew solace from the fact that publicly Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh had also rejected the naming of the ‘jathedars’ by the radicals. The Akali leaders were of the opinion that the public would itself reject the resolutions for a ‘separate Sikh state’ and even the appointment of the jathedars.
The party core committee expressed ‘deep anguish’ at the secessionist tendencies of the radicals and how they proposed to take Punjab back to the ‘old days of terrorism’. The leaders were unanimous in their opinion that the government needed to deal strictly with any elements that fuelled separatist tendencies.
The committee, presided over by the Chief Minister and chief patron of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Parkash Singh Badal, asked him and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to work aggressively for removing all grievances of the people against the government, especially with regard to delivery of services.
The meeting lasted for almost four hours. The Advocate-General, Punjab, Ashok Aggarwal, and senior police officers were also called in at the meeting to seek their legal opinion on the preventive arrest of top radical leaders who were picked up in the wee hours on Wednesday.
Besides Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Gurdev Singh Badal, Sikandar Singh Maluka and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, 13 others were also present at the meeting. Senior BJP minister Madan Mohan Mittal too was called to give his opinion. He is learnt to have said that peace and harmony had to be maintained at all cost.