Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has not been weakened despite attempts to do so over the past few weeks. Referring to recent incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, Sukhbir said, “We are extremely pained after the incidents of desecration but are committed to maintaining peace and harmony in the state.”
Sukhbir was in Ferozepur to attend the bhog ceremony of Akhand Path organised at Jaamni Sahib Gurudwara, village Bajidpur. BJP state president Kamal Sharma also accompanied him. This is the first time that Badal and Sharma were seen together in public since the incidents came to light.
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Sharma said the incidents were an act by anti-social forces and that “such people have no religion”. He requested people to maintain calm.
Both leaders maintained the motive behind violating the Sikh holy book is to weaken the state and the entire Sikh qaum but asserted that the Punjab government would not let such designs to succed.
Sukhbir rejected claims that the SAD’s popularity had dipped and that the recent protests would have a bearing on the upcoming investment summit where over 100 industrialists are expected to participate.
Sukhbir has already cancelled the 6th World Cup Kabaddi tournament earlier.
On the issue of Panj Pyara being suspended, Sukhbir categorically said, ”SAD does not interfere in the activities of Akal Takht and SGPC and hence I cannot comment upon it.”
He claimed rival parties were leading protesters to gherao the residences of SAD leaders.