On the 100th Foundation Day of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh gave call to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to start journey “from Punjab to Panth”.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal was also present at the function held at Gurdwara Sri Manji Sahib.
After bhog of Sri Akhand Paath Sahib at Sri Akal Takht Sahib, in which five Sikh Jathedars Singh and dignitaries participated, during the grand function organised by SGPC, the congregation listened to keertan. Sacred Gurbani hymns were recited in the holy presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Addressing gatherings at the function after Sukhbir Singh Badal, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh gave a call to the community to unite.
He said, “SGPC is today facing the same challenges it did in 1984. The Congress government wanted to break the SGPC, but a vigilant president, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, did not let this conspiracy succeed. Centre wanted to break the SGPC and run all gurdwaras by forming trusts controlled by it on the pattern of temples because the SGPC was a state within a state. The Indian State does not like this independent nature. It is the reason that it has become an eyesore for the Government of India.”
He further said, “It is not a democratically elected government at the Centre. It is an EVM-elected government and we don’t know for how long this EVM government is going to stay in power. So it is a must for us to come and unite on one platform by forgetting small differences.”
He then preached to the SAD to return to its Panthic agenda. “Shiromani Akali Dal is the son of SGPC. SAD too is going to celebrate its 100th anniversary in coming months. Now SAD should start journey from Punjab to Panth. Then no one will be in capacity to separate mother from son.”
SAD had announced it would become a political party at the Moga conference held in 1996. The move was always criticised by a section of community as SAD was always a party with only a Panthic agenda.
Speaking before Jathedar, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said that his main goal would be to develop Punjab as a “role model of modern progress”. “When we form a government, our maximum stress would be on health and education for our youth and children. In addition, we will resume the development of world infrastructure in Punjab, with emphasis on connectivity and smart energy. Preserving the great Sikh and Punjab heritage will be another focus area. But all this can only be achieved if we remain united and defeat those who want to divide us. This is also important to maintain peace and communal harmony.”
Making a call to ensure and safeguard “security, equality and dignity” of the minority communities, Badal asked for more concrete and credible steps to stop insecurity and alienation in the minds of minorities.
Badal also asked the SGPC to initiate a five-year drive to fight “multi-pronged” challenges like patit-puna (apostasy), religious conversions through lure and drug menace facing the Sikh masses. He called for a “fresh lehar” to fight patit-puna (apostasy) among Sikh youth.
Badal cautioned against “mischievous elements” attempts to undermine the unique, separate and sovereign religious identity of Sikhs. “The Khalsa Panth takes deep pride in its unique separate religious identity. The Khalsa never interferes in the religious affairs of others but nor does it tolerate interference in its own religious affairs,” said Badal.
He came down heavily against the Congress party, describing it as the worst enemy of the Sikhs. “Since the founding of the Khalsa more than 320 years ago, the Sikhs have faced three enemies, the Mughals, the British and the Congress. Of these, only Ahmad Shah Abdali and Indira Gandhi were responsible for demolition of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. Now, some people want to gain control of our shrines with the same Congress sponsorship,” said Badal.
Describing SGPC as “a unique achievement and a mini-religious parliament of the Sikhs, Badal said that the Sikhs are the only religion in the world which runs its religious affairs democratically”.
Badal said it was a matter of great pride for SAD that throughout the 100 years of the SGPC, the Khalsa Panth has always placed their trust in the representatives of the party.
During the function Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal, President, SGPC welcomed the dignitaries and while congratulating the congregation counted on the struggle, sacrifices and achievements of SGPC during the last 100 years.
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