“THE GOVERNMENT wants to hold talks and so do we,” Dhyan Singh Mand, parallel ‘Jathedar’ of the Akal Takht declared by Sarbat Khalsa said Friday. Mand is leading the Bargari Morcha, that began on June 1 at Dana Mandi of Bargari in Faridkot. He said, “Talks are slated. The Punjab government’s representatives will visit us on Sunday and we will then take a call on whether to lift the dharna the same day or to continue it.”
Mand claimed, “It was only after the Morcha was organised that arrests in desecration case started, SIT was formed and even Ranjit Singh Commission’s report was tabled in Vidhan Sabha.” In September, a few panthic organisations had along with the Punjab government had made efforts to lift the dharna but there was no consensus.
However, on November 25, on the occasion of celebrating Gurparab of Guru Nanak Dev,, Sikh organisations had announced that they had given all rights to Jathedar Mand for taking decisions about the Morcha. They had also announced that any decision taken by Mand would be acceptable to all.
Baljeet Singh Daduwal, parallel jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, said, “I have heard from Jathedar Mand and thus decided to take a call on whether to lift the dharna or not on Sunday. I am not yet aware of which of our demands have been met by the government. I myself had no talks on this issue with government authorities. I don’t even know with whom talks are being held. Let’s see as what happens on Sunday.”
Mand told mediapersons, “We wanted to lift the dharna much earlier… It was the government’s dilly-dallying approach that proved a hurdle. However, we are in constant touch with the government and we agree that after our Morcha began, major developments happened in the probe into desecration cases.”
The three main demands of the protesters are: arrest of all culprits behind desecration cases of Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, punishment to police personnel behind Behbal Kalan firing and transfer of Sikh prisoners lodged outside Punjab to jails in the state.
Tripat Rajinder Bajwa, cabinet Minister, who had visited the site of the Morcha a couple of times, told The Indian Express, “We have already arrested persons behind desecration cases, An SIT was formed that summoned the Badals. The SIT is working efficiently and will submit its report soon. Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s report has been made public.
So all the protesters’ demands have been met by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Regarding shifting of prisoners, CM had written on the matter but Rajasthan has refused. So on part of CM, all demands have been met. I am not sure whether anyone from the Punjab government will going to the Morcha site on Sunday or not. The CM will decide that. However, we are hopeful that this peaceful dharna will be lifted on Sunday.”
He added, “The protest has been peaceful throughout. The government has remained in touch with them and have accepted the demands of not only Morcha, but the Sikh community.”