A joint delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) Punjab led by Sukhbir Singh Badal (C) and Madan Mohan Mittal (3L) come out of Raj Bhawan after meeting Punjab governor, in Chandigarh, Friday. (PTI)
A SAD-BJP delegation Friday called on Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore and urged him to ask the state government to withdraw its fresh affidavit from the Supreme Court in which it has said it has no objection to Haryana having a separate gurdwara management body.
A joint delegation of led by Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal also demanded a high-level judicial inquiry “to expose the conspiracy of the state’s Congress government to jeopardise the interest of the Sikh community and the apex body for the management of Sikh shrines (the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee).”
Talking to reporters later outside the Raj Bhawan, Sukhbir accused the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government of “conspiring to weaken Sikh institutions including the SGPC by supporting the idea of a separate Gurdwara body for Haryana with the sole aim of fulfilling the anti-Sikh agenda of the Gandhi family.”
He demanded immediate withdrawal of the additional affidavit filed by the state government in the apex court in this regard.
The SGPC manages Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. In 2014, the Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was notified for managing Sikh shrines in the state, prompting the then SAD-BJP government to oppose the move in the Supreme Court.
The SAD said the affidavit was “legally and constitutionally weird” as it was directly opposite to the state government’s earlier affidavit, which had opposed a separate religious body in Haryana.
Sukhbir told reporters that during the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government in Haryana, an attempt was made to interfere in the Sikh affairs by proposing the idea of a separate Sikh body in the state.
“But then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh assured us that no such an attempt would be entertained as he understood the sensitivity of this matter because his ancestors had also made great sacrifices for establishment of the SGPC,” Sukhbir said, adding “later however Dr Singh showed his helplessness as (Congress chairperson) Sonia Gandhi decided to constitute a separate Sikh body for Haryana.”
Terming the Punjab government’s stance on the issue of a separate Gurdwara management body for the neighbouring state as the “biggest betrayal” against the interest of Punjab and Sikh community, SAD president alleged that “Amarinder Singh government, by filing a fresh affidavit in the Supreme court, has changed Punjab’s stance on this very sensitive issue at the behest of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi”.
“This is akin to a second attack orchestrated by the Gandhi family on the Sikh community after it attacked Sri Harmandir Sahib with tanks and mortars in 1984,” he added.
The joint delegation also urged the Governor to direct Punjab government to “immediately register a criminal case against minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar, advisor Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Manjinder Singh Dhillon for causing death to former sarpanch Surjit Singh who was a prime witness in the Behbal Kalan firing incident.” It also demanded Kangar and Kushaldeep’s “removal from their posts respectively”.
SAD president said “the prime witness of Behbal Kalan firing incident was mentally tortured and humiliated at the behest of the Congress leaders who wanted to stop him from disposing as a witness in the case in order to save accused police persons”.
“Kangar and Dhillon used one way or another to deter Surjit Singh from giving testimony against the culprits by mentally harassing him through the Powercom department officials by imposing heavy penalties as well as insulting his family members including ladies,” said Sukhbir. He said “these shocking disclosures were made by the deceased’s wife and son”.
The SAD president said it was “shocking that despite all efforts including a meeting with the CM made by the widow of Surjit Singh to expose the conspiracy behind his husband’s death, the state government had not initiated any high-level independent inquiry into the incident”.
“Keeping in view the sensitivity and gravity of the case, it should be referred to the CBI for an independent inquiry,” he added. The SAD-BJP delegation also demanded full proof security to Surjit Singh’s family as well as all the witnesses of the sacrilege cases. It also demanded strict action against all the officers who “did not take proper and timely action on the applications of Surjit Singh”.
Speaking on the Mittal said “not providing protection to a prime witness of a very important case proved the malafide intent of the present Congress government. Instead of protecting the witness, Congress ministers harassed and humiliated the witness with the sole aim of protecting the culprits. This is unwarranted.”