Updated: June 7, 2022 5:48:35 am
Expressing concern over “spread of Christianity” in Punjab, Akal Takht Jathedar Gyani Harpreet Singh Monday stressed on the need to promote Sikhism in border areas and urged the Sikh organisations to encourage the youth from the community to train in traditional martial arts and modern arms. He also reminded the community of the concept of Badshahat or Raj (sovereignty) given by the Gurus, which which Sikhs still reiterate in their daily ‘ardas’ as “Raj Karega Khalsa”.
“We repeat this concept in everyday prayer. We have to keep repeating it. A Sikh can never reject the concept of Raj. It is a separate thing that some like [Shiroman Akali Dal (Amritsar) president] Simranjit Singh Mann demand openly and others like me subtly. If we want to make the Raj, then we will have to become true Khalsa,” the Jathedar said during his customary address to the Sikh community from the Akal Takht’s podium to mark the 38th anniversary of Operation Bluestar.
The Jathedar asserted that that “churches and mosques” were being built in numbers in rural parts of the state and urged Sikh preachers to visit villages to promote Sikhism.
“We are confronting several challenges that are weakening us on the religious, social and economic fronts…To weaken us on the religious front, churches have come up in villages,” he said, adding it was “a matter of concern and worry for us”.
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Singh said the issue should be tackled by the Sikh institutions and jathebandis (organisations). “Sikh preachers and scholars must step out of the air-conditioned rooms and to visit the border areas to promote Sikhism and apprise the youth about the rich Sikh tenets and history. We need to understand that if we are strong on the religious front, then only will we be strong on economic and social fronts and overcome political weakness too,” he added.
The Jathedar also lashed out at the first prime minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, for allegedly making anti-Sikh policies. “It started in 1947. Nehru had made a policy to oppress the Sikhs and it resulted in Operation Bluestar in 1984,” said the Jathedar who heads the highest Sikh temporal seat.
Operation Bluestar was carried out by the Indian Army on June 6, 1984, to flush out militants from the Golden Temple.
Expressing concern over drug menace afflicting many youths, the Jathedar talked about the need to fight the scourge.
“We need to start Gatka (Sikh Marshal art) centres and modern shooting ranges. Some are giving weapon training secretly, but we will give this training openly. We need to get our youth out of drug menace and give them arms training. We should make them educated so that they should be able to control the economies of different countries. Then no world power can stop our Raj,” said Jathedar.
Meanwhile, pro-Khalistan slogans were raised by supporters of radical Sikh outfits as well as that of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) at the Golden Temple. Many youths held banners and placards with ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ written on them. They wore T-shirts with the picture of slain separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale printed on them.
SAD (Amritsar)’s Simranjit Singh Mann, who was also present at the spot, raised the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala and demanded justice for the family.
Elaborate security arrangements were put in place in Amritsar to ensure that the event passed off smoothly.
Saying that the ghallughara (holocaust) of June 1984 is a painful saga of atrocities perpetrated on the Sikh community, the Jathedar questioned the heavy deployment of forces by the government in Amritsar city during that time. “The governments must understand that the Sikh community is not a community which intimidates but it protects the oppressed,” he said.
He said that “the attack on several Sikh shrines, including Sri Akal Takht Sahib, still hurts the community and it is a historical fact that whoever attacked the Sikh shrines was doomed”.
The Jathedar also asked Sikh bodies to come together. “The journey is difficult. When one person walks on the path then they have to face many problems. But when we come together by forgetting the difference then the journey becomes easy.”
On the occasion, the family members of several former terrorists were honoured with ‘Siropaos’ (robes of honour).
SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said, “Sikh community can never tolerate the desecration of their shrines and the Panth has always given a stern response to the invading enemy. The holocaust of June 1984 was not by some outside enemy but it was a brutal act committed by the tyrannical government of our own country. It was an act of alienating the Sikhs which will be remembered as a cruelest act in the religious history in the world.”
Meanwhile, Dal Khalsa thanked people of Amritsar for “extending cooperation by observing peaceful and complete bandh in Amritsar”
Commenting on Gaini Harpreet Singh’s address, Dal Khalsa’s Kanwar Pal Singh said, “Jathedar has reiterated that every Sikh should arm himself with licensed weapon. Endorsing his views, the Dal Khalsa leaders ask the Jathedar to lead by example by wearing pistol on his body”.
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