Akali Dal seeks Punjab CM's apology for insulting Akal Takht Sahib
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday asked Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to apologise to the Sikhs for insulting the highest temporal seat of Sikhism -- Sri Akal Takht Sahib as well as its Jathedar Harpreet Singh, besides immediately releasing all innocent Sikh youth who were "wrongly" detained.
Chandigarh, March 29 (IANS) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday asked Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to apologise to the Sikhs for insulting the highest temporal seat of Sikhism -- Sri Akal Takht Sahib as well as its Jathedar Harpreet Singh, besides immediately releasing all innocent Sikh youth who were "wrongly" detained.
Senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema told the media here the party also asked the Chief Minister to seek forgiveness from the supreme temporal seat for filing a complaint to remove a tweet of Jathedar Sahib from social media, besides accusing the latter of inflaming passions.
"Everyone knows the opposite is true. Jathedar Sahib convened a meeting of intellectuals and political leaders to discuss the state crackdown against innocent Sikh youth. Respecting the sentiments of the 'sangat', an ultimatum was given to release the innocent youth within 24 hours.
"Instead of respecting this religious directive, the Chief Minister chose to not only insult Jathedar Sahib but also previous Jathedars of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, besides politicizing a case which was essentially one of human rights abuses."
Asserting that all this had hurt Sikh sentiments, Cheema said it was condemnable that instead of realising his mistake, the Chief Minister was displaying arrogance.
He said it was a fact that the state government was forced to release a large number of Sikh youth who had been arrested on trivial charges.
He demanded that all pending cases against the youth who had secured bail following the recent crackdown should be withdrawn.
He also demanded a stop to state repression against youth, intelligentsia, artistes and media persons.
Asserting that Sri Akal Takht was a symbol of pride for Sikhs and that it had always stood up against repression and tyranny, Cheema said "the Akal Takht has also always upheld human values".
He said despite trying times, including the demolition of the Takht by Afghans and later by the free India government led by Indira Gandhi, the Takht had always emerged supreme.
Asserting that the Chief Minister was defaming Punjabis in league with the Central government, Cheema said the current politics of polarisation was aimed at taking Punjab back to an era of darkness.
Asking the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to desist from this divisive politics, the Akali leader said "it is clear to Punjabis that all this is being done to divert attention of the people from the utter failure of the government on all fronts, be it law and order, managing state finances, undertaking development works or extending social welfare benefits to the weaker sections of society".