THE RECENT incidents of ‘desecration’ of Guru Granth Sahib across Punjab and protests against the Akali Dal continued at the historic Jor Mela when SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar had to face protests as he started to address the devotees at Sri Fatehgah Sahib gurudwara Friday. The backlash happened during pre-Jor Mela ‘Safar-e-Shahaadat’ religious gathering.
Makkar was about to begin his address when some devotees started chanting ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal.. Sat Sri Akal’ in unison not allowing him to utter a word.
The head granthi of the gurdwara Bhai Harpal Singh also tried to intervene and pacify the audience but the voices of protest continued and Makkar was forced to remain silent for nearly five minutes.
Later, however, he completed his address but did not forget to tell the crowd that their behavior was “utterly mannerless and ridiculous.”
“You have gathered here to pay respect and obeisance to Chhote Saahibzaade. Fatehgarh is the soil of martyrs who gave up their lives for Sikhism and its cause. Is this the way you pay respect? Is this the way you behave? Not letting me speak will not solve any purpose,” Makkar thundered.
Later, Makkar told The Indian Express that “what happened during religious gathering was utterly ridiculous and disappointing.”
“This is no way to behave. Is this how we pay respect and remember our martyrs? I will not tolerate this nonsensical behavior and I told this clearly after wards to the people present there. I reminded them that they are sitting on the soil of great martyrs and this unruly behavior will only spoil their image, not mine. Not letting anyone speak is not done,” said Makkar.
He also said he suspected the presence of some “politically motivated, anti-social elements in the crowd.” “I am not scared of anyone because I know I have not done anything wrong,” said Makkar.
Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib is held annually at the historic gurdwara where it is believed that Chhote Saahibzaade (two younger sons) of Guru Gobind Singh were chiseled in wall by a Mughal ruler for protesting against forced religious conversions.
The mela begins on Saturday while SGPC had organised pre-mela religious gathering ‘Safar-E-Shahaadat’ at Thanda Burj (where both children were kept in captivity under open skies during chilling December days) on Friday.
Meanwhile, at the end of the programme on Friday, Harpal Singh, head granthi of Fategarh Sahib gurdwara ‘condemned’ the incident and said, “I just pray that the Almighty shows the way to the entire Sikh community because whatever happened is highly condemnable and should not have happened during this pious and emotional moment when we were remembering young martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Sikhism.”