A “Sarbat Khalsa” planned on Baisakhi next week by the same groups that held the controversial November 2015 congregation appears to have fizzled out.
Buoyed by the tremendous response to the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ held in Chabba village near Amritsar on November 10 last year, the organisers, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by Simranjit Singh Mann and United Akali Dal led by Mohkam Singh, had announced that the next meet would be held on Baisakhi, which falls on April 13.
On Monday, however, Mohkam Singh said: “The jathedars appointed in Sarbat Khalsa were in in jail for a long time. There was no time to make preparations. So, the Sarbat Khalsa announced for April 13 stands postponed. We will decide later. Like the conferences by other parties, we will organise a conference at Talwandi Sabo on April 13,”
“As many as 11 cases have been slapped against me after the Sarbat Khalsa in November. I came out of jail on bail only 25 days ago. Jathedar Dhian Singh Mand is still in jail. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to organise such a big-scale event,” added Mohkam Singh.
In the November 10 “Sarbat Khalsa”, which Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Akal Takht refused to accept as Sarbat Khalsa in the first place, slain chief minister Beant Singh’s assassin Jagtar Singh Hawara was named as “chief” of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.
The November congregation was primarily called for the “removal” of Akal Takht chief (Giani Gurbachan Singh) and chiefs of other two Takhts in Punjab amid massive resentment among the Sikh community over the controversial pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and a series of desecrations of the Guru Granth Sahib. As Hawara was in Tihar jail, Dhian Singh Mand was named as “acting” chief of Akal Takht. Amrik Singh Ajnala and Baljit Singh Daduwal were appointed as “chiefs” of Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib, respectively. Apparently, shaken by the response to the November congregation, Shiromani Akali Dal has left no stone unturned to make an attempt to secure its core constituency. The state launched Chief Minister’s Pilgrimage Scheme. It also introduced a Bill seeking amendment to the IPC and CrPc to seek life imprisonment in Guru Granth Sahib desecration cases.
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