The Badal family came under intense scrutiny at the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, convened in Amritsar on Tuesday. While the Akal Takht pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim was cited as the primary reason for the event, the controversial dera hardly found any mention as the narrative on stage was dominated by criticism of the Badals.
Speaker after speaker on stage took on the ruling family, accusing them of “interfering in Sikh religious affairs”.
If that wasn’t enough, the three-kilometre link road leading to the venue was lined with hoardings reminding visitors of all the political crisis that the Badal government has faced over the past three years. The subject of these hoarding included the drug addiction issue, illegal sand mining, unemployment, lathicharge on protesters, farmers’ issues, Badals’ interests in the transport business, among others.
As for the speakers, Congress MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki (who has resigned) told the gathering that the Akal Takht and SGPC are under the Badals’ control and promised to get them out. Former SGPC member Jaswant Singh claimed that he resigned after the desecration episodes as “he did not want to be identified as a Badal supporter”.
The most telling accusation was in a letter from Sikh militant Narain Singh Chaura, who is in jail. In a detailed letter on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s political life, Chaura alleged that the chief minister has always betrayed the Panth. He also accused Badal of working for the RSS “to weaken Sikh institutions and the Akal Takht”.
The organisers also repeatedly told the gathering that the Badal government was allegedly stopping buses of Sikhs from entering Amritsar.
The fourth resolution passed by the Sarbat Khalsa specifically revokes the honours bestowed on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.