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In Baisakhi speech, Akal Takht Jathedar says some blaming Sikhs, Muslims for spread of COVID-19

‘How can a community be targeted for an act of an individual?’

coronavirus, baisakhi, Giani harpreet singh, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani, baisakhi, coronavirus spread, coronavirus spread blame, Nihang sect, indian express news Gaini Harpreet singh was speaking from the Takht Damdma Sahib Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda. (File)

ADDRESSING the masses through social media on the occasion of Baisakhi, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Monday said there had been attempts to blame the Sikh and Muslim communities for the spread of the coronavirus.

He was speaking from the Takht Damdma Sahib Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda.

Touching upon the Sunday incident in Patiala, where group of five men from the Nihang sect chopped off the hand of an assistant sub-inspector after being asked to show curfew passes at a lockdown barricade, the Jathedar said, “There was an unfortunate incident in Patiala yesterday. We also felt pain. We can’t appropriate such incidents. But it was used as an opportunity by those who have hatred for Sikhs. The whole community was targeted for the act of an individual.”

He further said, “There are different yardsticks for different kinds of people. This is the irony. Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus are treated differently for same the kind of crime. What is the reason behind this different explanation of crime depending upon the religion of the accused? Any individual responsible for the crime should be punished. But the whole community can’t be held responsible for the same.”

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Speaking about the Tablighi Jamaat incident in Delhi, he said, “How can the whole Muslim community be held responsible for a gathering in Delhi where some devotees were found positive for COVID-19? Similarly, there were attempts to blame the whole Sikh community when a Sikh priest, Baldev Singh, was found positive.”

Baldev Singh from Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar was the first COVID-19 patient to have died in Punjab.

On the lockdown, he said, “I read a piece of news about how a one-year-old girl in Ludhiana died because she couldn’t get treatment due to lockdown. The system should take responsibility for her death.”

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Reacting to incidents of cremations of COVID-19 patients being opposed by local residents fearing infection, he said, “We shouldn’t let our humanity die in these testing times. How can you ask doctors and nurses to treat COVID-19 patients when you yourself are not allowing cremation of COVID-19 patients? It shouldn’t happen. We should help each other in crisis. No one should be discriminated against…”

The Jathedar also asked the community to prepare for the possibility of a post-COVID-19 economic recession, and asked Sikhs to remain at home during the Foundation Day of Khalsa and the Baisakhi festival due to the lockdown.

First published on: 14-04-2020 at 12:27:26 am
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