Amid simmering panthic unrest in Punjab over incidents of alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the Golden Temple on Saturday. Badal also visited the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and personally handed over a letter to the Takht chief, Giani Gurbachan Singh, putting on record his anguish at the incidents of the last few days, and effectively quelling rumours that the jathedar was on his way out.
The Jathedars of the five Sikh Takhts are appointed by the SGPC, which is at present controlled by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. In the letter, the chief minister said he had lived all his life according to religious decorum. “Sometime things happens which are out of your imagination and cause deep pain to you. It shakes your soul. It intensify the feeling of regret inside you. The recent incidents have badly disturbed me. I have come to bow my head in front of Guru and make prayer as for blessing in this hour,” he wrote.
In a release, the State government said the Chief Minister prayed for peace, communal harmony, brotherhood and amity. Cabinet minister Daljeet Singh Cheema was with him. In brief comments to the media, Badal said forces inimical to the progress of state were bent upon destroying the peace of the state. However, he said that the state government was committed to thwart any such attempt, which could pose a danger to the progress and prosperity of the state. “These forces will be exposed before the people so that they are not able to succeed in their nefarious designs against the state,” he said.
The Chief Minister called upon the people of the state to rise above the parochial considerations of caste, religion and creed to give a befitting reply to” fissiparous forces” active in the state. Reiterating that the people of Punjab have always upheld the ethos of peace and brotherhood in the state, he hoped that no one would be ever able to destroy the deep knitted social fabric of the state.
Badal, who was offered a siropa at the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple, urged the people to extend support and cooperation to government by not falling prey to the malicious campaign unleashed by the divisive forces. He later visited Akal Takht Sahib and paid reverence at the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.
SGPC employees join protest
Soon after Punjab CM’s departure from Golden temple, Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee employees also joined the protest against the desecration incidents. Though the protest was symbolic, employees carry out a protest march from SGPC secretariat to Hall gate chowk. Employees also sit on road for some time.
Employees demanded action against the culprits. SGPC will also organise an Akahnd Path (uninterrupted reciting of Guru Granth Sahib) from October 20 to express its regret over the incidents of desecration. “Motive of this march is to ensure punishments to culprits and find out the forces behind these incidents,” Said additional secretary SGPC.
‘Exemplary punishment for guilty’
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said exemplary punishment would be meted out to those found guilty of sacrilege against the Guru Granth Sahib. In a statement issued here late in the evening, the deputy CM said the “grievous outrage” had deeply wounded the psyche of Sikhs. “No personal, political, constitutional or religious duty is above the need for me to fulfil this sacred mandate in a manner that serves as most effective deterrent against the recurrence of any such events in the future,” he added. He said this was an act of certain elements and agencies who wanted to disturb the hard won peace of Punjab. Expressing grief over the death of two persons in the police firing, Sukhbir appealed for calm.
(With ENS inputs)